Rachael Yamagata's cellist
Review and Photos by Matt SchwenkeThere was an unusually intimate setting at Shank Hall. The crowd at the front of the stage was sitting on the floor three rows deep, and at the quietest moments in the show, whispers could be heard across the room. There was a storytime feel to Rachael Yamagata's performance.
Sitting behind a keyboard, for most of the night, with cigarettes and something to drink, Rachael talked with the crowd between nearly every song. Apologizing for sniffling and being on drugs (Sudafed for the cold), there was no apology necessary for the way she sang or played. With a bit of a rasp to her voice that gives the right amount of grit to her songs about love, love lost and love come back again, Yamagata often turned from a quiet croon to an outright howl throughout the night. Whether Yamagata was behind the keys, playing guitar, or wielding a tambourine and shaker, the singer-songwriter displayed a command over the instruments and her voice by using dynamics effectively. With the help of her band, which includes a cellist and violinist, the swings of mood were evenly matched with the volume and intensity of the music.
While there were shining moments in the show, Rachael singing after stepping a few feet away from the mic, the strings getting to solo, and an encore featuring Rachael alone on the piano, the performance was much more polished and reserved than the gig opening up for Gomez last February at the Rave. Even though Rachael Yamagata did not display the same energy as she did at the Rave show, the quiet and acoustically wonderful moments at Shank Hall (which are nearly impossible at the Rave) made up for the lower energy show.
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