Feist – Town Hall – June 12, 2107
The prolific Leslie Feist has always been in touch with her emotions (she wrote a song entitled “I Feel It All,” after all), and on her new album, the evocatively titled Pleasure, the Canadian musician is again focused on channeling some big feelings into her music. On Monday night, the last of three consecutive shows at Town Hall, Feist and her band played the new record from start to finish, taking the crowd on an impassioned voyage both musical and emotional. Following the piercingly sad “Wish I Didn’t Miss You,” the singer-songwriter set the scene for the next number: “After that, you kind of need to chill out and, like, go to a lake and sit at the end of a dock and write a song like this,” she explained, shifting gears into the mellow and groovy “Get Not High, Get Not Low.”
Before performing “Lost Dreams,” Feist instructed us to think of an old dream or idea that may have been holding us back and to shake it off. Later, as she introduced the wistful “Any Party” (a song that contains the excellent lyrics “You know I’d leave any party for you/ ’Cause no party’s so sweet as a party of two”), we were asked to think of the show as an awesome party (not difficult to do), to consider the person we wanted to leave with and to “fortify that intention” as we sang along. But the participation didn’t end there—volunteers were later invited onstage to slow dance to the cautiously optimistic album-closing “Young Up.” Pleasure’s lyrical ups and downs were mirrored through Feist’s vocals and body language, punctuating lines with a yelp or a jump, lowering her voice to a near-whisper and cracking an occasional playful smile. Even the stage lights pulsed and flickered along with the musical dynamics.
After the conclusion of Pleasure, Feist dug into her back catalog, performing crowd favorites like “My Moon My Man,” “Sea Lion Woman,” “Anti-Poineer” and “Let It Die”—a collection of songs bursting with many of the same feelings as her new material: pain, joy, sadness, curiosity. Part of the pleasure for the listener was simply being taken along on Feist’s journey as she sorted through it all, transforming big feelings into beautiful sounds. —Alena Kastin | @AlenaK