Maria Taylor @ El Mocambo

. : : April 17th, 2009 : : .

It’s a bit weird that I’ve posted both openers for this set last May, but didn’t get around to sharing the headlining set by Maria Taylor.

Don’t get me wrong — it’s not for a lack of love (in fact, Maria’s solo material is sadly missed!), or for a lack of quality (as this recording sounds great!). Really, I have no excuse other than plain old forgetfulness, and perhaps maybe fear that too many back-to-back-to-back Maria Taylor recordings would wane thin on casual readers of the blog not as totally enamored with her as I am. Which is a concept that I can hardly fathom, but I digress.

One of the things I remember most strongly about this evening was that it occurred less than three weeks after her latest album, LadyLuck hit the shelves and the material was still mostly unknown to me and probably most in attendance that night. Luckily, many of the new songs Maria performed were previewed during her improvisational duet with Andy LeMaster a year and a half earlier, but the songs were now backed by a full band, so it was a treat to hear how they had since evolved.

Maria opened the set with the album’s title track before leaping into a handful of tried-and-true tracks from her previous record, Lynn Teeter Flower, but not before chastising a fan against the stage who spent much of the first song talking loudly to his friend, back completely turned to Maria. I’m glad it didn’t go unnoticed, and Maria invited the gentleman to continue the conversation — at the back of the room. He declined, and his attention was spotty at best throughout the night. Noticing him actually enjoying a song, Maria remarked that the songs aren’t so bad, when you actually listen to them. If only he were embarrassed enough to keep so rapt attention for the remainder of the night. Oh, well.

Regressing to the older material was a wise decision. It kept the (rest of the) audience captivated and allowed the band to play to its up beat, southern-influenced indie pop strengths. The beauty of the album is in the arrangements of instruments difficult to recreate in a touring band (ie. woodwinds, strings, etc). The exceptions were My Favourite… Love, which benefited from the stark simplistic treatment, and Time Lapse Lifeline, which has always sounded to me like it was written to be a companion piece to the previous album’s lead single, A Good Start.

The old MiniDisc recording equipment was giving me constant headaches by this point in its career with frequent drop-outs in sound (although the lens’ were cleaned frequently, and the tapes often brand new) and poor battery life, but this show is an example of how nice the cheap set-up could sound when the stars aligned themselves properly. Don’t get me wrong — I don’t miss it at all, not for a second, but it’s a nice reminder that sometimes the oldies ARE goodies.

For more details on the night’s experience, please check out the opening acts Too Many Sisters> and Whispertown 2000’s entries.

01. [introduction]
02. Ladyluck
03. Replay
04. Orchids
05. No Stars
06. Speakeasy
07. Time Lapse Lifeline
08. Clean Getaway
09. Cartoons and Forever Plans
10. A Good Start
11. My Favourite … Love
12. Xanax
13. Song Beneath The Song
14. [encore]
15. Light House
16. Leap Year
17. Birmingham 1982

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Replay (Live In Toronto) [MP3 sample]

Thanks to Maria Taylor and band, Whispertown 2000, and the wonderful El Mocambo.

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