Space – Evanston, IL
When you break it down, there are three key components to a great live music experience – the band, the crowd and the venue. While hundreds of variables contribute to the success of those parts, those are the things that really determine the success of that live show. When all the pieces click together though – magic can happen.
Such was the case with The Weepies at SPACE in Evanston on Saturday October 30th.Of course, the music and the performance are key and Deb Talan and Steve Tannen and their band were up to the task. Touring in support of the just released Be My Thrill, they opened with the just lovely “Please Speak Well of Me” which set the tone for the rest of the evening. Moving around through their catalog, they interspersed songs new and old in their 19 song, 90 minute set.
One of the great things about The Weepies is the general ‘comfort’ that their music has, even on first listen, and their latest release carries on that tradition for me. Be My Thrill has been in pretty heavy rotation here and it was great to hear the new tracks just fit in so nicely. Somehow they manage to have a sound and a style that is instantly recognizable but never feels forced or redundant.
The six piece band on the small stage never overwhelmed and while generous with their praise and introductions, the focus was on Steve and Deb throughout. Trading off vocal duties, the magic really happens when they harmonize. It grabbed me from the first time I heard them and in the small setting, it really was just a wonderful experience to see and hear that spontaneous creation. I was also tremendously impressed with guitarist Meghan Toohey who did a great job of filling in the gaps and creating fantastic textures behind the generally acoustic tracks without overshadowing them.
Highlights for me included the aforementioned “Please Speak Well of Me,” “World Spins Madly On,” “Not A Lullaby” and their haunting version of “When You Go Away” – but really I just thoroughly enjoyed everything about this show.
The crowd at Space was a joy. It’s wonderful when the audience is really there for the event and pay attention to the performers as was the case here. It was so quiet in between songs that at one point Deb herself mentioned she was afraid to talk to break the silence. Her and Steve’s between song banter was spot on though, friendly and appreciative and full of humor. Seeing them interact with each other and the audience was great, something that you can easily miss in a larger venue.
Speaking of venue, SPACE is really a great place to see a show. With tables in front and standing room in back, even the farthest spot is really just feet away from the stage. Intimately lit and with crystal clear sound, there really was no downside. I’ll definitely keep SPACE in mind for future shows.
We caught the 7:00 show and could easily have stayed for the second at 10:00 if we thought we could get away with it. Seeing The Weepies live just propels them even higher on my list of favorite bands.
Scott infrequently shares his mostly melodious thoughts at ‘Sensory Dispensary‘