Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Emmy The Great in Liverpool

After the weird rap night, I wake up on my laptop with two new albums in iTunes, a ticket to a show and a train ticket to get to that show. The albums are from Emmy The Great and the ticket for the show is the same in Liverpool. Time to go, this train leaves in two hours and the departing station is across town. What have I done, who the hell poisoned me and why is there a fork in my hand?

Next things next, the great city of Liverpool, known for that one band, funny accents, and being cold and wet. It's an unusual place where speaking understandable English is optional, but I'm not noticing so much as I'm in a rush to get to the Liverpool Guild of Students where the gig has already started. In some hall half the size of a basketball court is a quiet group of young Brits watching the last song from the opening act, Stealing Sheep, who are gypsying around with their harmoniously hippie voices on an uncommonly large stage. There's an empty bar to the left (there's booze everywhere over here) and I'm relieved I didn't miss the main course. It's a three hour train, I missed the first one by stupidness mistake and I'm anxious.

Emma-Lee Moss is more of an emanating force from a far away magical planet than an actual real-life person. That sounds like a huge over-exaggeration for such a small-framed, half-Chinese, half-English twenty-something with a wispy voice and an affinity for 90s rock music, but as it pertains to a commanding presence on stage, turning mortals into drones with wide-open paralyzed mouths, then it's just something you'll have to experience for yourself to understand.

From the moment she floats on stage, alone with her big gold necklace and freshly-paid-for Iron Maiden t-shirt, the crowd is entranced. I stare at the muscles in her thighs (I think she's a runner) just under her black skorts ('cause I'm a perv, you know that) as she pulls up her customized acoustic guitar and begins to sing like an angel. She has an Irish folk singer feel to her, but it's less country and more something else.

In fact, her first album, First Love, plays almost entirely like a folk album aside from a few progressive electrons. That's when people started to notice her east of the states, but something tells me with the newly edged-up record, Virtue, all will change for the bigger and better. It's a more well-rounded and put-together taste of dark and magical flavors occasionally dipping into melodic drones and distant pulses that take my weird mind into Fantasyland. Not a far cry, really, with her lyrics singing of fairy tales and dinosaur sex. It's deeper than it sounds.

The rest of the band comes out in this mostly sold out gig and they jam with Grace in front of what is still a quiet crowd. For some reason, even in this small place and high stage, they've filled the floor with chairs. You can either sit in one or stand by the bar in the back. I sit to be close, but I hate the idea of all that energy being strapped to a seat. The crowds in England are reserved anyway and when I look around, I'm the only soul bobbing my head. They're not bored, they've just been zombified by her spell and into it. Their wooing cheers in the relenting breaks say so. I guess I'm supposed to stare into her eyes more and not so much at her legs to get the full effect.

She occasionally jingles what looks like a dream catcher with bells and crucifixes attached to it to ward off the demons. Song after another, this is hypnotic and blissful. Em to The G are an incredible live performance and while they can be mellow, there's plenty of opportunity for foot tapping. All is taking me to a distant place and I'm thinking about the empty seat next to me where someone I know should be. Then suddenly my buzz is jolted loose by a cover of Weezer's "Island In The Sun" (RIP Mikey Welsh) and I might as well be in a Sonic drive-thru. I don't figure out this decision until later when Google tells me Emma is a huge fan. Her choice, but it doesn't seem to suit her voice or sound and I'm left with curious eyes. She could've at least chosen "Crab," instead.

Luckily, she and the band don't end there and continue on with more velvet vocal volume and my space world starts to sneak back again. In between songs, Emma tests the crowd with some throw-away one-liners you have to be listening to to catch. She's a funny girl, gifted in voice, smart with her writing, and ain't too shabby in the looks department, neitha'. I'm thinking this is one of the best shows I've seen in a while and, later on, I confirm that with my sober memories. Will I see her/them live again? Yes. Liverpool? No.

Catch ETG's upcoming Christmas thing with Tim Wheeler from Ash (whom she's rumored to be dating. Pffffsssshhhhtt). It's called Emmy The Great & Tim Wheeler present This Is Christmas and the first track sounds like, well, Ash.

Photo stolen from Facebook. LaZers added by ES out of necessity.

Emmy The Great // North
Emmy The Great // Sylvia
Weezer // Crab

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