it’s true i don’t talk too much

On October 8th, 2010, Wild Nothing opened for Stars at the Barrymore Theater in Madison, Wisconsin. Not allowing themselves to get swallowed by the massive stage, Wild Nothing filled the room with an sound bigger than their slight, hunched frames belied. While the recorded material is relaxed and expansive, the addition of three musicians to Jack Tatum’s one-man band generates a live energy that tape and microphones just can’t capture. Tatum’s sweetly-toned vocals hovered over songs that should have been written by a California native instead of a Virginian. Despite evoking thoughts of the Sunshine State, the songs all had a smooth, sad quality, similar to the feeling of riding the bus alone on a rainy day or watching the sun fail to break through the clouds after a storm. Don’t be fooled though: Wild Nothing’s performance will leave listeners anything but empty. Satisfying and leaving an afterglow, theirs is a set to catch.

Click the photo below to see more shots from the night.

we like the same things and i like your style

Zooey Deschanel is the most adorable performer I’ve ever seen.  Taking the Barrymore Theater stage in an electric blue dress and matching flower in her hair, Deschanel delivered on the hype with her partner in crime M. Ward as She & Him on 08.08.08 in Madison, WI.

Opening the show was Lavender Diamond‘s Becky Stark. With a beautifully clear voice, Stark brought a mix of childlike idealism and mid-century country-folk style to her performance. She & Him served as Stark’s backing band, and Stark didn’t let the star power behind her overshadow her. That being said, the strongest points of her performance were when dueting with Deschanel – their voices blended perfectly for a transcendent listening experience. As I had once kept my fingers crossed for Deschanel to release an album, I will now burn a candle for these two ladies to collaborate a la The Watson Twins.

After a short break, the ensemble returned to the stage, this time with Ward and Deschanel in front. While Ward tended to hug stage right, hunched over and introverted, Deschanel shone center stage. Though quiet and almost timid in demeanor, her voice was larger than life and filled the theater with its warmth. Also, Deschanel finally seemed comfortable in her role as chanteuse, only occasionally betraying her insecurity with fidgeting, intertwined fingers while debuting her newly written material. Gladly for her, there was nothing to fear – the new songs were quite good and well-received.

She & Him was at its best when Ward and Deschanel played off each other. Ward’s tenderly bruised voice is underutilized on the album, so the songs are that much more special when he chimes in. Whether the two were sitting next to each other on the piano bench or looking longingly across the stage during “You Really Got A Hold On Me”, the connection between Deschanel and Ward is palpable. The ease between the two propelled the pair past the level met on Volume One for a wonderfully lovable performance.

PARTIAL SHE & HIM SETLIST: Sentimental Heart, Why Do You Let Me Stay Here?, This Is Not A Test, Change Is Hard, I Thought I Saw Your Face Today, You Really Got A Hold On Me, Black Hole, Got Me, I Should Have Known Better, Sweet Darlin’