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Amongst the best voices around

My Brightest Diamond
Lakeshore Theatre
Chicago, IL
Nov. 11, 2007
My Brightest Diamond My Brightest Diamond

Story and photos by Matt Schwenke

Curiously insisting that the show time be listed as 2:43 p.m., the dynamic duo of My Brightest Diamond and Tim Fite would, much later in the day, prove to be an equally curious statement of innovative and awe-inspiring music at the Lakeshore Theatre-- the show actually started at 9 p.m. (apparently in music superhero code, you add up the digits to figure out the actual start). And continuing with the oddly-numbered theme, the tour has been dubbed "The Eleven Fingered Tailor Tour," and the two groups crafted music that was nothing short of what only an eleven-fingered tailor could craft.

My Brightest Diamond, a moniker for vocalist/guitarist/keyboardist Shara Worden and any number of supporting musicians, was on tour as a three-piece with drums and bass, and the minimalist arrangement came crashing out of the gates with the rock attack of "Golden Star" lifting the crowd to extraordinary heights with Worden's voice soaring even higher above. A technical problem with a guitar effect stopped the show in its tracks shortly after, but Worden calmly and rather playfully entertained the crowd as she tried to resolve the issue and even directed her bandmates to play a quick bossa nova to fill the void. Later dropping the "bells and whistles" from "We Were Sparkling," Worden's voice was simply angelic over the raw, stripped-down version of the tune. In all of its originally crafted wonder, "Dragonfly" swirled about the venue while "Disappear" fell upon the audience like a series of gentle waves.

A selection of covers, including a dreamy take on Edith Piaf's "Hymn to Love" and double-time blitz of the electro-pop staple "Tainted Love," displayed the vast range Worden's voice is capable of covering, and, along with a couple of new tunes, her original material, such as the slow-cooking "Gone Away" and the tremble-inducing power of "Magic Rabbit," put an indelible stamp of creativity on the band as Worden's voice effortlessly wandered through registers. "Freak Out" ended the set with chaotic energy, and a solo, encore performance of Nina Simone's "Feeling Good" affirmed Worden's place amongst the best voices around.

Opener Tim Fite was also much to marvel at-- the Brooklyn-based rapper managed to wrangle together hip-hop and country tones in a rapper/DJ combo similar to Cee Lo Green and DJ Danger Mouse of Gnarls Barkley. With witty yet accessible lyrics, Fite spit out well-versed obscenities in "It's All Right Here," from his 2005 release Over the Counter Culture, while in "Place Your Bets," Fite rolled through smooth lyrical lines balanced out by a Wyclef Jean style howl, before mashing up the rhythm and sliding back in smoothly. Much more on the country side of the fence, "Away From the Snakes" was a set-ending anthem and romp for the common man that peaked with Fite running through the crowd.

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

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