. : : October 9th, 2011 : : .
The first REAL Rebekah Higgs residency gig at the Drake Underground was unsurprisingly under-attended. Unlike the previous week’s virtually unadvertised show in the upstairs dining / lounge area, this one was a full band performance with a bit of social networking umph put behind it; however, it also happened to fall on Canadian Thanksgiving Sunday. Predictably, most prospective attendees were stuck traveling, visiting family members, and sleeping off the turkey. As such, the room was mostly filled by the other bands and their friends, which was too bad. This was the best Rebekah and co. have sounded yet.
The show started off on a bit of a mixed note. One of the opening band member’s second cousin, a young toddler, was absolutely cutting a rug, dancing for the bands and tearing around the room between sets. Rebekah invited young Lyla on stage to dance during the opening number, Little Voices. The kid seemed anxious to join in on the fun, but once Rebekah started using the loop pedal for the backing vocal tracks, the kid’s mind was visibly blown wide open. She started, almost literally unblinking and completely dumb-founded at the pedal for the entire length of the song. When Rebekah picked Lyla up, and held her to the mic, offering to let her sing the refrain, the kid couldn’t lift her jaw off the floor long enough to play along. After the song, Rebekah offered to let the kid try the pedal herself, but the kid seemed almost frightened of the device.
While I’m sure this was fun for Rebekah and adorable for the kid’s immediate family, I couldn’t help but wonder if Rebekah had forgotten about everyone else in the room who might be less than amused by a shell-shocked child. Although it may not quite come across on the tape, it was a bit alienating and uncomfortable an experience live after being dragged on for so long.
Luckily, the band was quick to rebound once the family wisely took Lyla home for bed a couple of songs later and, although there still wasn’t a great deal of variation from the band’s previous shows in the last few weeks, we did get the triumphant return of Youth & Beauty and the cover of The Zombies’ Time of the Season, as well as fresh Rebekah Higgs track, Stick & Poke. The latter song starts with an excruciatingly slow build that really allows the singer to show off her chops before reaching a manic conclusion that doesn’t quite have the same effect as its recorded counterpart, but it was still a nice surprise.
Perhaps the set highlight was a really tight version of freshly pressed LP Odd Fellowship closer, Drunk Love, although follow-up track and album b-side, 96′ (an ode to underage rebellion vis-à-vis driving) is also a breezy fun time.
No doubt, up to this point, this is the definitive Rebekah Higgs recording. If you can get over the pandering to the toddler early on, there’s a lot to like here. If not, hold your horses; the third residency takes place this Sunday, and I hope to return with another great sounding recording.
02. Little Voice
04. Gosh Darn Damn
05. He’s So Fine [the Chiffons]
06. Youth & Beauty
07. Give You What You Want
10. Miserably Together
12. Stick & Poke
14. Drunk Love
18. Time of the Season [the Zombies]
Thank you to Rebekah Higgs and band, the Drake lounge (for a great Thanksgiving dinner) and Underground.