red lights

Miranda Greets Chicago

Miranda Lee Richards
Park West
Chicago, IL
Dec. 2, 2001
Miranda Lee Richards
Miranda feels warm.

Review and Photo by Barry Brecheisen

There are certain things that you can depend on. Cab drivers with B.O., Subway always picking out the driest possible bread and rock concerts not starting on time.
7:30 PM hit Sunday night at Chicago's Park West, the lights went down and out struts a rail-thin model carrying a black acoustic Gibson guitar. Miranda Lee Richards, backed by a 3-piece band are the punctual kids that used to ruin it for for the rest of the class. It comes as no surprise that she once worked as a model. Looking at her long frame makes you understand that she was born for the part. Who does she think she is by changing the rules? Can she actually be more than another pretty face? Honesty pinching me, I've had her CD sitting on my desk for months and never took the time to listen to it. Apparently, I've been missing out. Before I knew it I was sucked in by her buttery voice. Her music has a nostalgic hippie feel to it that takes you back to the times of Roger McGuinn and the Byrds. She's a part of the same L.A. scene that has brought us Beachwood Sparks a few years ago with a similar psychedelic folkie sound. In fact, they opened with a hidden gem from The Rolling Stones catalog, "Dandelion." It's an instant head bopper and a perfect opener to land any of the skeptics into the palm of her hands. Is it just me or does her eyes sparkle when she sings. Maybe it's just the eye shadow or perhaps it's her charm reflecting back. Her shy presence hidden at times by overt stage gestures had her contradictory paces cut a fresh groove. Throughout her 7-song set she took turns going back and forth between electric and acoustic black Gibson guitars. Understanding that harmony means more than flavor. On "Beauty Queen", with bungee chord slide guitar working it's way up and down, she sings lines like, "Is it hard to believe that you got what you need. When you're singin' the rhymes of your fate?" along with a catch chorus of "hey, hey, hey" and ending with "but I'm just a girl losing her heart to someone...". Personal experiences bleed life. Coined phrases and words strip your mind of what should be said. Interpretation gets lost in her dictatorship of the lyrics.
"Last Solstice of the 70s" has her mesmerizing voice, that at times can make Mazzy Star stand-up and listen, go north all the way up to the Arctic and then melt down south to the heat of the Amazon. She closes with "The Long Goodbye." Her backup guitarist belts out some thumpy lead riffs to the point of ending the song with a broken string. "And I hope and pray that it's here to stay", she sings. Let's all hope she's here to stay.

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