LIVE REVIEW: She & Him, The Chapin Sisters @ The Fox Theater 5/29/2010
There are not many bands that can get the indie kids to turnout for an alt-country, oldies revival show. But if anyone can do it, it’s She & Him, as they proved Saturday night at their sold out Fox Theater show in Oakland. The show opened with The Chapin Sisters, a perfect warm up for the main event. The Chapin Sisters are actual sisters who play a beautiful style of alt-country. There are normally three of them, but the two sisters present announced that one was out on maternity leave. Their music borders on being straight up country, but they inject a subtle dose of pop sensibility that moved them from an opening spot with Lady Antebellum to entertaining a packed house of hipsters opening for She & Him, and still,Â they could be at home in either place. The true power of the Chapin Sisters are their stunning harmonies. Their voices combined are all the insturments they need to move the crowd. The sound is romantic and haunting at the same time. The crowd seemed to really get into the music toward the last few songs of the sisters’ set, luckily that wasn’t the end for them as they returned to the stage 20 minutes later as the back up singers for She & Him. It might be harsh to say, but the Chapin Singers were so perfect as back up for She & Him that I almost perfered it to their own set. They brought a lot of depth and energy to the She & Him set.
She & Him took the stage with a ton of enthusiasm; Zooey bounced around the stage with her tambourine and M. Ward wasted no time at getting the crowd moving with his precision guitar work. The band was as bouncy and bubbly as ever, playing their brand of neo-oldies (it makes sense, trust me) and blasting through both their CDs with little pause. Like the peppy grandchild of The Chordettes and The Beach Boys, the band plays like a golden oldies radio station, but somehow makes the sound new and refreshing (hence my mind blowing oxymoron neo-oldies). The band was very tight and comfortable together, probably a result of their stint in Europe and the excitement of a U.S. tour getting underway. Zooey switched back and forth between tambourine, keyboard, and ukulele while of course always on lead vocals. Almost as if she’s playing a character, she brings a powerful innocence to the stage that works extremely well with their sound. Her banter with the crowd is whimsically awkward and she is almost unbearablyÂ endearing throughout. It’s obvious that they enjoy what they do. Half way through the set the band was joined on stage by Alan Anderson, the composer of “Ridin’ In My Car,” which She & Him cover on their latest album, Volume II. Â
After the band exhausted their catalogue and left the audience clamoring for an encore, they returned to play a couple of covers. They reenacted a Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald duet and played a raucous version of “Rollover Beethoven,” which felt slightly out of place. Luckily, Deschanel and Ward returned to the stage for a second encore which was the highlight of the show. The pair performed a stunning cover of “I Put A Spell On You” that left the crowd glowing as they exited the theater.