By BOB BUSBY
Brandi Carlile, the alternative-Indie-America
She began the show with “Every Time I Hear That Song,” a lovely song about talking to an ex-lover to say the breakup had been cathartic with no regrets except when she hears a particular song. As would be the case throughout the evening, Carlile’s powerful voice was supported with harmonies expertly provided by band members the twins Tim and Phil Hanseroth.
These days it seems that many artists are reticent to interact with the audience, this is not the case with Carlile. From the get-go it seemed difficult for her to contain her excitement at playing, in her words, “such an iconic venue.” She also said it was the largest audience she and her band had ever played to in Los Angeles and it was happily freaking them out a bit. There most certainly was a palpable energy in the air, the type that occurs when a fan dominated audience knows the artist is at the top of their game.
For the fifth song, “The Mother,” also from the new album, Ms. Carlile spent some time talking about getting used to the ups and downs of recently becoming a mother. The audience was then delighted when her 4-year-old daughter Evangeline – whom the song “The Mother” is all about – ran out to give her mom a hug.
It’s been 10 years since Ms. Carlile’s career exploded with the success of her song “The Story,” featured in a General Motors commercial as well as several others, not to mention the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Now, with “The Joke,” which she called “an anthem for the downtrodden and persecuted.” Carlile has again penned a song that plays to her strong vocals, and one that gives a message that almost anyone can resonate with. It’s an instant fan favorite.
Without a doubt the highlight of the set was her performing a stunning cover of Joni Mitchell’s “A Case Of You,” followed by a similarly executed cover of Led Zepplin’s “Babe, I’m Going To Leave You.” I can’t recall a stranger pairing of songs performed.
She followed that with the anthem “The Story,” which had the audience singing every word in full throat before closing out the show with “Whatever You Do” and “Party of One,” both from the new album.
Carlile and the twins have been playing together for 17 years and the result is a kick ass band that is as tight as can be. The band includes a four piece string section that expertly showcases the arrangements on the album put together by the legendary late Paul Buckmaster (famous for his work with David Bowie, Elton John, Harry Nilsson, The Rolling Stones and Carly Simon to name a few). It was the last album he did.