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Worden showcases her dynamic voice

My Brightest Diamond w/ Clare & the Reasons
Orpheum Stage Door
Madison, WI
Nov. 8, 2008
My Brightest Diamond My Brightest Diamond My Brightest Diamond

Story and photos by Matt Schwenke

Touring in support of her second album under My Brightest Diamond, Shara Worden's collection of tunes on A Thousand Shark's Teeth, which evolved over a period of six years, are comparably decorated with a host of instrumentation, but she appeared in Madison as a quartet with only strings in accompaniment, delivering her tunes in a much barer fashion as on her debut album.

The lack of a full band did limit the power Worden's songs are capable of reaching, but the small arrangement and intimate venue kept the focus on Worden's ability to craft interesting songs and, of course, her incredibly dynamic voice. "If I Were Queen" and "From the Top of the World" were standouts from the new album, as were the thumb piano and falsettos in "Apple" and the whirling tube opening in "To Pluto's Moon." Adding another dimension to the show, violinist Oliviet Manchon performed a magic trick between songs, gave a storyteller explanation to the defiant angst of "Black & Costaud," and provided a bit of comic relief-- donning a bass guitar on his shoulder after Worden stopped mid-song in "Disappear," giggling and explaining she grabbed the wrong guitar. Another treat in the small venue was a puppet show to go with Worden's set-ending cover of Edith Piaf's "Hymn to Love," as well as the audience participation in an encore performance of "The Gentlest Gentleman" with Worden on ukulele.

Openers Clare & the Reasons were more of a sister act than opener with the same musicians in accompaniment, but with Clare Muldaur Manchon's smoky vocals and vintage sound in place of Worden's more contemporary sound. More fitting as a quartet, the strings to "Pluto" did much to draw the crowd to the front of the stage, while "Pluton," sung in French with flickering lights, a giant shadow cast on the theatre ceiling, theremin-like sounds and ghostly falsettos, did much to intrigue. The hilarious "Can Your Car Do That? I Don't Think So" invited audience participation and an incredible string version of Tears for Fears' "Everybody Wants to Rule the World" sent the band off the stage to a warm round of applause.

Related articles:

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The Decemberists / My Brightest Diamond - Concert review - Milwaukee, WI - April 2007

My Brightest Diamond My Brightest Diamond My Brightest Diamond
My Brightest Diamond My Brightest Diamond

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