Aimee Mann in Concert: 08-02-2008

Aimee Mann performed last night at the 9:30 Club in Washington, DC.

The opening band, The Submarines, was a pleasant surprise for me, as I had never heard of them before. They sound pretty pleasant, if not ground-breaking: I thought their brand of indie-pop would be something that Apple might use in an iPod commercial, and as I was doing some research them on the Internet right now, I found out that their song “You, Me, and the Bourgeoisie” is featured in an iPhone 3G commercial.

But on to the main attraction. First of all, I just have to say that it is pretty incredible, at least for me, to hear Aimee Mann’s voice sound as good live as it does on record. Thank god the sound guy at the 9:30 Club didn’t fuck up the mix. Second, she most played songs from her new album, which I’ve written about here. But she also played some older stuff, mostly from Bachelor No. 2, which is good, because I still think that album was her best record.

I think the best part of the concert was a two-song acoustic solo interlude: it was just Aimee and her acoustic guitar, playing “Red Vines” and “Pavlov’s Bell” back to back. Before playing “Red Vines,” she goes: “this song is about Paul Thomas Anderson. (Pause). There will be blood. (Pause) He was fucking right about that.” This is the kind of dry humor that her banter had, which I highly appreciated. The acoustic version of “Red Vines” is an interesting change, because it is slowed down by quite a bit, and she totally changed the phrasing of the song. I’m not sure which I like better, but it was definitely interesting.

For encore, she played “Voices Carry” and “Deathly,” which was definitely a kick-ass choice to end the night, becasue “Deathly” is a rocking song: too bad the band didn’t have any real electric guitars but had to use a synthesizer, but I ain’t complaining.

Overall, it was a very good show, especially because I’ve been wanting to see Aimee Mann live for a very long time–ever since I’ve heard of her in fact. She has a very good sense of humor: self-deprecating and dry, and very down to earth. The band was tight, and aside from a couple of hecklers (wtf?!), the crowd was good too. She says she’ll be back in the area in December, and barring some unforseen circumstances, I’ll go to that show too.


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