When I arrived at Le Poisson Rouge tonight and saw what appeared to be a movie playing on a screen on stage, I was afraid I had come on the wrong night. (Shoot. Did I just spend 12 bucks to watch a movie?) But before I could worry to much, the side door opened, and Victoria Bergsman (formerly of the Concretes and the chick from “Young Folk”) and her backing band walked on stage, bearing incense.
In the minutes leading up to Taken by Trees’ set, people sheepishly lined the walls, as if afraid to stand in the middle of the floor, but at Victoria’s request following the first song, the crowd stepped forward and closed the gap.
For a Swedish artist, Taken by Trees sounds fairly… worldly, and I suppose that’s only fitting. Her last album, East of Eden, was recorded in Pakistan. According to Victoria’s website, she has always been intrigued by ‘the rhythm, drums and flutes of Pakistani music.’ Her live show may not feature Pakistanis singing backing vocals like her album does, but her performance is still tinged by this disparate culture. Instead of your standard drum kit, the two percussionists incorporate various types of shakers and bongos.
The mood was right, the crowd reverent, and the music mesmerizing (1), but it all seemed to stop too soon. Taken By Trees’ set clocked in under 45 minutes, which seems like a more appropriate length for an opening band than for the main act. (And no, there was no encore.) Honestly, it was kind of a let down, but it did leave me wanting more…
Taken by Trees may not have played this cover song, but I’ll leave you with it for fun anyway.
1. To Lose Someone (listen)
3. Greyest Love of All
4. Day By Day
5. Too Young
6. Summer Sigh
7. Only Yesterday
8. Watch the Waves
(1) Elsa Chiao also sounded fantastic on backing vocals. Chiao’s angelic high voice complimented Victoria’s deeper tones.