Aimee Mann SatisfiesJanuary 30th, 2012
Aimee Mann – Music Hall of Williamsburg – January 27, 2012
“For some reason, most of my friends are comedians,” Aimee Mann told the audience halfway through her sold-out Music Hall of Williamsburg show on Friday night. Although the songwriter is best known for singing melancholy tales about the “dysfunctional, broken and crazy” (her exact words), she is also quite the comedienne, and for each dismal story in her songs, Mann counteracted the gloom with a wry anecdote, a pointed comment or some spontaneous banter with the crowd (see also: playing herself on Portlandia). Given her natural penchant for hilarity, she probably shouldn’t be too stumped at her circle of comical friends.
Before playing a block of songs from her soon-to-be released album (probably called Charmer, though she admitted to some last-minute reservations about the title), Mann, in saying, “I won’t be offended at all,” gave everyone permission to use the bathroom in case the new material wasn’t their thing. Of course the pieces were met with a warm welcome, and songs like “Labrador” fit in nicely with Mann’s repertoire of catchy tales of the downtrodden. Perhaps as a reward for our patience with the new material, Mann followed with a selection of songs from her popular soundtrack to Magnolia, prefacing her spot-on renditions of “Save Me,” “Wise Up” and “One” by dryly commenting, “It’s hard to believe it’s been so long … since I lost that fucking Oscar.”
During the night’s encore, after performing “4th of July,” from her very first solo album, 1993’s Whatever, Mann was joined by opening act John Roderick, another humorous musician (offering hugs for five dollars at the merch table after the show), for a cheery cover of Simon & Garfunkel’s “Keep the Customer Satisfied.” The choice of song may have been a final wink to the crowd, for Mann certainly knows how to put on a satisfying show, no jokes about it. —Alena Kastin