Welcome to Webster Hall. Now kindly clear the space.

Owen Pallett – Webster Hall – 4/22

I figured that by arriving at Webster Hall at 8:45 that I would catch a couple of songs from The Luyas, but as it turns out, I caught the last few from Extra Life instead. I guess I should have known that the lovely folks at Webster Hall would be so eager to kick concert-goers out and let the club kids in that they would start things on time. But really? 8:00-8:30 for the Luyas? Come on. Luckily, they are playing three more shows in New York over the next couple of days.

The stage was set quite nicely for Pallett. Little lights penetrated the black backdrop like stars in the night’s sky.

Owen walks on stage, starts playing and stops. Sorry. This is harder than it looks. He begins again, and carefully loops together all the pieces to his song. Somehow, with just his violin, keyboard, and pedals, he was able to carve out a surprisingly full sound (both by himself and eventually joined by another musician).

Owen Pallett (Photo Ryan Pfluger)

The musicianship is there, no question. Owen’s voice was rich, confident, and spot-on, and his fingers moved impossibly fast over the violin as he plucked its strings. But unfortunately, there wasn’t much of a give and take with the crowd. From my spot in the balcony, I could see that only two people in the entire crowd on the floor were moving to the music. Everyone else stood respectfully, but  stiffly. There were no funny anecdotes between songs and no explanations about lyrics.

But there was one moment that I felt a deep connection with Owen. For the second and final song in his encore, he started to play a familiar tune. Was it? Yes! It was!

[Side note: Mariah Carey’s Fantasy was actually the first CD I ever owned (that after buying No Doubt’s Tragic Kingdom on casette). My taste in music was a bit more diverse in my youth, you could say.]

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