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Marian Call at Pandemonium

Posted on : Jun-14-2011 | By : John | In : Event, local


Marian looking blurryNerd-throb folksinger Marian Call will be here!

This isn’t officially a Boston Skeptics event, but we were instrumental (groan) in getting her to include Boston on her current tour and if you RSVP, everyone will know how popular she is and next time she’ll play the Boston Garden or Gillette Stadium.

She was totally awesome in November:
(Not a very good photo, I was trying to use available light but failed. She is much less blurry in person.)

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And she was totally awesome again last night.

She was a little late (which provided a nice rant later on to get everyone in the the right mood for her Zombie Cheerleader folk-punk fight/camp song, We’re Out For Blood) and the room was too small (they had to remove all the chairs to make enough room for all 150 of us to stand) and too hot and way too humid for someone from Alaska, but that was much alleviated by the beneficent person (people?) who bought a couple of cases of bottled water for the audience. (In honor of The Nerd Anthem, I tried to use as many 5-syllable words as possible in that sentence.) To atone for her 20-minute tardiness (much less than many artists who don’t have to travel 5500 miles to entertain us), she distributed gift cards good for a free download of her (currently) latest CD, Got To Fly. Pandemonium did the best they could under the circumstances, but I think they were overwhelmed by the size of the crowd.

She sang lots of her familiar songs and several new ones. Few artists are able to connect with their audience as well as Marian; she got a large collection of self-professed geeks and nerds to sing along with the chorus on It’s Good To Have Jayne On Your Side, We’re Out For Blood and a new song about Avocados. Other new songs were Good Morning, Moon (a wake-up song for the astronauts on the last shuttle flight or the ISS, let’s hope NASA chooses to use it!), Anchorage, both the city and a safe harbor, and Free Bird, which she wrote so she would have a response when she asks “What should I play next?” and someone in the audience inevitably shouts out “Free Bird”. Another newish song is the hilarious Love And Harmony in which she gets to caterwaul the word “caterwaul”. It must be tough on her throat and her musical sensibilities to sing so loud and out of tune intentionally, but the effect is worth it!

She did two sets of about an hour each, a nice mix of the old and the new, accompanying herself on typewriter (“Lily”, a smaller portable from Hawaii) and rainstick (also smaller and less club-like than her favorite, which occasioned another of her gentle rants, this time about the TSA.)

Most singer/song-writers are mostly about the lyrics, making the job of accompanist fairly thankless. Marian’s songs are musically as well as lyrically inventive, which probably made Bryan Ray (@thisisbray)’s task on guitar a little easier, or at least much less boring for him, but in any case he did a superb job, keeping the audience in the groove during Marian’s occasional commentaries and hilarious rants, and especially when she was coaching us for the audience participation bits. He did have some space to cut loose during a few of the songs.

Perhaps the funniest part of the show was when she was attempting to get us to sing “We’re Out For Blood” (practicing the line over and over) as people on the side walk stopped and looked in to the store in amazement and then a long string of emergency vehicles passed by on Mass Ave, sirens wailing. (Later, it occurred to me to hope they weren’t on their way to some tragedy, which would have somewhat spoiled the effect.)

As any successful performer knows (at about 5:45) always leave them hungry. A few personal favorites she didn’t get to were Vera Flew The Coop and Flying Feels Like Falling, but she promised to return in the fall, when it the weather will definitely be nicer, and she hopes to get a larger, more comfortable venue. Don’t miss it!

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