Show Preview: Joanna Newsom at Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall

on March 25, 2016
photo by Annabel Mehran

photo by Annabel Mehran

To see Joanna Newsom live is to be given the opportunity to wander. The songs across her increasingly formidable discography cover centuries and eons, history and ghosts, and Newsom travels through them at her own pace, which is sometimes leisurely, sometimes frantic. But beyond the songs themselves, her live show is a wonderful chance to let your mind uncoil, to drift in and out of the intricate harp work happening on stage. I don’t mean to say that the main attraction of a Joanna Newsom show is a chance to veg out in a beautiful concert hall, but I’ve always found her live presence calming, relaxing and freeing, an opportunity to let my mind go where it will. Popping back into present reality to find myself being entertained by a world class harpist bent on educating me about obscure New York City history, is the best possible transition from dream life to reality.

Newsom’s newest effort, Divers, might be her densest album to date, but it is also frequently her most exciting, finding room for new sounds amid new contexts. She’s touring behind it with a fairly stripped-down band, just three souls deep, which is how I most appreciate her, with just enough backing to add occasional oomph.

She’ll be playing our fair city’s best room, the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, this Monday, March 28. Robin Pecknold, leader of the defunct Fleet Foxes (and rumored to be performing new material) will open. Grab tickets here

– JP Kemmick

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