Emily Greene, Rockwood Music Hall Stage 2 [6/10/11]
Emily Greene celebrated her birthday Friday night at the Rockwood Music Hall Stage 2. Not sure if this is how she celebrates the aging process every year, but we’re grateful for the invitation to the party this time around. Two reasons in particular: The show was free (always a bonus…thank you, Rockwood!), and second, this might have been one of the most diverse set lists we’ve seen since our friend’s crappy wedding band played last month. (if we hear electric slide one more time…)
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Emily is not one to be pinned down. Throwing her weight around all the backcorners of the rock n’ roll/torch song catalog, Greene and her band of doods made sure everyone got something they wanted. One minute, she was covering the Cars “Just What I needed,” the next… Cinderella’s “A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes,” then back again to the soul crooners we know well from her first record. At times, this 31 flavors approach to set construction came across like DJ’ing, vacillating between different genres and vocal styles, trying to match the music up with the shifting mood of the crowd…or maybe just the shifting moods of Emily. But then… it’s her party, and she’ll cry/scream/croon if she wants to.
Most exciting were the teasers she gave for her new LP slated for release after we breeze through the summer. “Oceans and Waves” placed a musical backdrop against the mood-setting lights she strung across the stage, but “How Low?” (below) was the real standout. Filled with mountains and valleys, she displayed her enormous range here in a much more sensitive and personal spirit than anything we’d heard from her first record.
Love the piano, too. Like our other favorite local diva Shenandoah Ableman, something about this instrument lends the proper weight to her smokey alto, and she really shined once locked into that groove.
Ms. Greene is an artist in transition. It’s rare that we’ve experienced a singer/songwriter in the act of crossing the border from the safer territory of tried-and-true soul croon to the kind of genre-hopping rock theatrics we have to look forward to in the fall. There’s a lot ahead for you Emily… blow out your candles and
make a wish hurry up and give us a new record!
-Written by Mike Levine (@goldnuggets)