• She & Him (Zooey Deschanel) @ Bimbo’s 365

    The Libster and I went to Bimbo’s 365 last night to check out She & Him, Zooey Deschanel’s project with Matt Ward. Their debut album, Volume 1, is a marvelous exercise in melding folk twang with indie starpower. You can’t help but shake the feeling that you’ve heard this album before, maybe in a small town diner during a road-trip or wafting from your neighbor’s warbling gramophone. You wouldn’t be too far off the mark – elegant covers (”You Really Got a Hold on Me”, “I Should Have Known Better”) and support from well-knowns like Jason Schwartzmann and, of course, Matt Ward bolster the gushes of new-to-me familiarity.

    She’s that good. Given the chance to really open up, Zooey’s voice soars – and Bimbo’s romantically drenched decor and enveloping space was the perfect venue to see her live for the first time.

    More pics after the jump.

    Bimbo’s 365. According to homeslice Tina Bev, the name is Italian and should be pronounced “Beehm-bo’s”, not “bimbo” like a hussy. In any case, it is, in my opinion, the most beautiful concert space in the city.

    There aren’t a lot of venues that still serenade you with the neon lights of a proper marquee. If you can’t already tell, I am in love with this place.

    Kidding! This photo wasn’t mine. Photography actually wasn’t allowed during the performance – a norm at most venues. Usually, most folk just ignore this and whip out their cells and digitals anyway and snap until the bouncers locate them and dilate their pupils with Maglites. But from the moment Zooey and Matt came on, it was clear that no one wanted to risk being thrown out for a blurry picture. There wasn’t even an official photographer. So I’m not going to apologize for not having a pic.

    Ward was the consummate professional and seemed keenly aware that many people were there for Zooey, despite the fact that cheers for him were as loud as any for her. Zooey, as good as she was throughout the night, showed just the slightest bit of nerves throughout the show. Quite understandable, since this is one of the biggest stops of her very first U.S. tour with the group. She lacks the breezy afffability and graceful stage movement that, say, Jenny Lewis has in spades, but that’s something that comes with experience.

    One thing that’s hard to put into words or pictures is how gorgeous Zooey is. From my viewing angle, with the stage light aimed directly behind her, she literally radiated her beauty across the room. The voice, the silhouette – you can almost imagine what it’s like to have an angel sing to you.

    Set lists are, by far, my FAVORITE souvenirs from shows. I didn’t get one this time, but the very lovely girl in front of us did, and was kind enough to share with us for a second.

    If you look really closely, you can see the water bottle cap that Zooey dropped. It’s as close to a real photo from me as you’ll get.

    She & Him sing love songs – this was inevitable.

    Consolation prize. Told you I love prints.

    Limited edition, hyper-exclusive, SF tour dates only concert print for She & Him. Camera got stuck on B&W and I couldn’t figure it out…

    oh, there we go. Nice usage of robin’s egg blue.

    Libster at the local bodega afterwards, figuring out how baller she wants her mimosas to be.

    Souvenirs.

    Bimbo’s made me realize something about the way we listen to certain musicians. An unfortunate side-effect of the iPodization of our music is that sometimes, the digital translations flatten the acoustics of the music. You can hear them singing and playing, but it doesn’t resonate in your ears and in your heart in quite the same way. Zooey’s voice is imbibed with a heartland huskiness and sprinkled with innocent imperfections that you can hear on the the cd or mp3, but don’t truly appreciate until you’ve seen or heard her live. Matt Ward’s incendiary, but never overpowering, bluesy riffs are similarly mistreated by digital copy.Yet another reason why vinyl continues to thrive.

    It’s hard for me not to compare Zooey and her efforts to that other All-American indie darling, Jenny Lewis (of Rilo Kiley). Jenny started her career with twee and indie pop and later discovered her best work by evoking an older, Nashville-country type of sound. Zooey brings the same kind of 50s and 60s country charm, with just a dash of pop and her own unique sound. She even sang a bit of backup for Jenny’s latest effort, Acid Tongue. With such similar appeals, it’ll be interesting to see in what direction Zooey takes her music.

    What I’m telling you is, give them a listen. And let me know if you likes.

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    Comments ( 4 )

    [...] no secret that I pretty much love Zooey. And that I had about as much chance to get with her as Lloyd did with Mary Swanson. But [...]

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