She & Him Keep It Cool

July 7th, 2010

She & Him – Terminal 5 – July 6, 2010

(Photo: Sam Jones)

(Photo: Sam Jones)

She & Him, the retro-leaning combination of M. Ward and Zooey Deschanel, performed a sold-out show at Terminal 5 last night, a nice respite from one of New York City’s unbearable summer heat waves. The duo’s upbeat numbers “Gonna Get Along Without You Now” and “I Was Made for You” were as energetic and catchy as ever, rounded out by the able backing band (including vocals by the Chapin Sisters), with Deschanel lightly stomping her foot as she belted out her signature bittersweet lyrics.

With Terminal 5’s powerful AC winning the battle against the outside heat, She & Him played it cool onstage, with the exception of Deschanel letting out a bit of playful frustration with her Wurlitzer piano, which she felt was slightly out of tune: “Do we have a Wurlitzer tuner in the house?” she half-joked, half-implored. (Of course, her piano parts sounded perfect and lovely during songs like “Home” and “Sentimental Heart.”) As Ward strummed his signature shrewd guitar riffs and twangy flourishes, he floated around the side of the stage, often stepping out of the spotlight—his modest persona proving a nice foil to Deschanel’s sunny demeanor, as she spryly hopped up and down while shaking a tambourine in her pastel party dress.

But the night’s high point came when the band took a breather, leaving “she and him” alone onstage. With just Ward’s restrained guitar parts and Deschanel’s strong, powerful voice, the melancholy “Brand New Shoes” was perfectly realized. Yet She & Him’s delicate vocal interplay during a cover of Smokey Robinson’s “You Really Got a Hold on Me” was perhaps the best distillation of their unique synergy. Simple, soulful and sweet, the song elicited one of the night’s loudest squeals from the eager crowd. —Alena Kastin