Nov 10, 2011
Rachael Yamagata and Mike Viola at the Logan Square Auditorium on 11/8/11
I cannot even remember how I first heard of and listened to the now 34 year old Rachael Yamagata. It was a time after she wrote her phenomenally amazing soulful and dark album, Happenstance, and after her 6 year gig with the Chicago band, Bumpus. This is exceptionally unfortunate for me (and it is always about me) since I missed 6 years of opportunity to see her performing live in Chicago. I have no choice now but to see her once every 5 years or so. I did catch her after her release of Elephants.... Teeth SInking into Heart in 2008 at the Lakeshore Theatre on Belmont (cool venue actually).
Through the help of her fan base and Pledgemusic, and (paraphrased from her website) "the unused stash of money my father put away for my wedding" (she is so self-deprecating), Rachael was able to fund her latest project, Chesapeake. She recorded the entire album, on her own label, after converting the home of one of her collaborators into a studio. As expected, this release continues her chronicles of the dark side of love.
Rachael singing "Starlight" from her new release:
Rachael singing one of my favorite's "Letter Read":
Tonight's show was at a very interesting venue, The Logan Square Auditorium in of course Logan Square. The space is something you would expect to go to for a high school dance. High ceilings, molding, large gymnasium like floors. We were able to stand up close and personal for the show and the sound was great despite the ceiling height and fairly large room size. When a new album is released, usually that is what you hear most of. Rachael, true to form, did not use the opportunity to overplay her new music. She really balanced her old beloved tunes with a new song sprinkled in.
She is so down to earth on stage and although great at banter, she is also comfortable with silent pauses never filling the air with unnecessary chatter. The show was great, deep, emotional, fulfilling, hopeful. It was great to have Rachael back in town.
The venue and performance gets a 5 out of 5 guitar rating. Everything was just perfect, what can I say.
Side note: If you are lucky to see a show at this theatre, there are two close by restaurants - Lula's Cafe and Dunlay's. The other good news is that there is metered parking until 9pm.
Mike Viola - Opening Act and Rachael Bandmate
Viola has co-written songs with Rachael and is performing with her throughout this tour. He is a bit of a geeky looking guy (a la Ben Folds) but I like his glasses (geek chic):