Kris Lao

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U_93_168.JPGLive Review from Underground 93:

Setlist:
1. Little Voice
2. Samson (Regina Spektor cover)
3. Machine Gun
4. What You Want
5. Fill Me Up
6. Sebastian’s Bowl

Kris Lao’s people filled the stage next (literally) with a massive double bass and cello. Proceeding smoothly to set up and begin playing in just a few minutes, the somewhat bohemian set of instruments (cello, double bass, keys, acoustic guitar and djembe) was a complete change of pace; however, it turned out to be a good one. With her crisp, clear vocals and sweetly laidback voice, Little Voice had some pure acoustic folksy overtones, complemented to perfection by the other two deep-toned instruments. Her remarkably unforced presence on stage (evocative of Cat Power) was one of an experienced pro; part of this demeanour was informing the crowd that her very apt glasses were not, in fact, prescription and that she was taking them off ‘cause she couldn’t see the crowd. Her cover of Regina Spektor’s Samson was eloquent, with reserved instrumentation, and a subtle display of her considerable vocal skill.

A mixture of haunting notes with intricate yet uncomplicated arrangements were the order of the night, with meandering, restful melodies coming from the two big stringed instruments, while the simple strumming of the guitar and ornate keyboards made for very interesting listening. In no song was this more obvious than on Machine Gun – mixing vaguely pan-human issues with personal themes, with some firm bass-work. Interestingly, Sebastian’s Bowl saw the keyboard almost leading the song’s melody. Kris had a unassuming command of the crowd chatting effusively to make the delay between songs seem minuscule, and was certainly the most able lyricist of the night, with the rare propensity to tell a weighty story without the song getting self-conscious. Combined with some solid instrumentation, it was a thoroughly mellow and refreshing performance.

Shashwati

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