Tuesday, May 4, 2010 at 7:59 a.m.
The Hype: Making his only stop in the Southern California area before hitting a few festivals in Europe, Owen Pallett stopped by Fingerprints Records to pull back the curtain on his sweeping violin magic enhanced by some pedal-looping wizardry. Owen was a busy fellow on this particular day as he had previously recorded a live session on KCRW 89.9 before heading down to Long Beach.
The Show: When rhetorically asked by an audience member "Why are you so talented?", Pallett laughed it off saying he was too busy working to believe in talent. While that is true -- Pallett is extremely talented -- it is also true that Pallett is always busy working. That Pallett even found time to record his latest album, Heartland is amazing considering how in-demand he is. The fact that it was his second performance of the day is another testament to Pallett's work ethic.
Delicately plucking the strings on his violin, Pallett slayed the audience early with "That's When The Audience Died." (Watch it here
.) Pallett was shoeless on stage, shuffling his feet from pedal to pedal and turning the knobs with his toes. The frantic circus keyboards of "The Great Elsewhere" viciously looped in circles, as Pallett tapped the body of his violin and plucked the strings adding more dimensions of sound. It was jaw-dropping to see all these sounds created on the fly syncing up seamlessly.
Cyclic shards of guitar notes gave way to more soaring violin during "Lewis Takes Action". Exclaiming he hadn't figured out the reverse function on his looping pedal, Pallett emulated some backwards sounding violins as he dove into "The Dream of Win & Regine." Asking for requests from the audience, a fan's prayers were answered when he performed "Hey Dad."
Momentarily switching back to keyboards, Pallett tackled "Oh Heartland, Up Yours!" emphatically singing "I will not sing your praises!" Another request from the audience was granted with the sharp violin slices of "The Butcher." After a brief discussion regarding composer Arthur Russell, "Lewis Takes Off His Shirt" capped a stunning forty minute set. I was tempted to stick around for the poster signing, but continued my Canadian quest with an epic set from Broken Social Scene at the Music Box.
The Crowd: I wouldn't be surprised if the crowd was full of violin players and aspiring composers. Most of the audience was extremely familiar with Pallett's work as I spotted a number of people singing along.
Owen Pallett will be returning for a full show in September. I strongly suspect he will be back with Arcade Fire
. Just a hunch though.