She & Him in the Melkweg, May 6th 2010
I could start this piece by talking about her acting career and how it might have helped her musical career. It’s a topic a lot of people would start talking about. I won’t. Fact is that she was already playing and writing music from a young age. An actress who sings or a singer who acts? It’s not really important. The only things to remember about the movies is that she was in Almost Famous (yes, that movie that made singing Elton John songs cool again) and also in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Anyone slightly connected with whatever form of the HHGTTG is automatically on my coolwall. If she had never acted however she would still have a fine career as a musician. And oh, being married to a member of Death Cab will bring you even more cred.
My biggest concern before the show was Zooey’s voice. On some of the live YouTube clips her voice wasn’t exactly powerful and she looked shy and ill at ease most of the time. But nothing like that on the Melkweg Max stage. With a powerful stage presence and a voice that was better than on record it was a great show that has to shut up any nitwit thinking it’s that cute actress who also sings. Cute she definitely is. Most striking are her eyes and hair that glow even at the people in the back. Her incredibly lowcut summer dress was stylish and some of the girls in the audience have seem to taken to the Zooey-look, a down-to-earth yet classy way of dress. But with a woolen sweater the songs would still be great.
On "Volume 1" Deschanel has proven to know how to write a timeless song and on "Volume 2" it is no different. Actors making a CD will usually sing a selection of covers or songs written for them. Deschanel writes all the songs herself and can really hold her own as a songwriter. From perfect Brill Building Pop (‘I Was Made For You’), Beatles pop to Nashville country (‘Got Me’), she can do it all. The true genius is in how the songs sound from that era and not like songs that are supposed to sound like from that era but with a distinct modern flavor. The chosen covers fit neatly into the set and the albums and she could have written them herself like the funny and coy ‘Gonna Get Along Without You Now’.
Responsible for this great sound is M. Ward. The songwriter, producer, member of Monsters of Folk and Conor Oberst’ choice for president. That singer from Death Cab is the luckiest guy on earth. Not only has he married one of the most beautiful people in Hollywood, his wife also gets to hang out with M. Ward! His trebly guitar, with sometimes a slide, adds a perfect warm sound to the songs. If Zooey is the ultimate cool for the girls, Ward seems to be that for the guys with his calm and easy stage presence in which he let’s Zooey get all the attention.
Highlight was halfway through the show where as a brief interlude just the two of them played a small acoustic set that included ‘Brand New Shoes’ and Smokey Robinson’s ‘You Really Got A Hold On Me’ that was greeted by an extended applause. Another cover was played as the last song, a rocking version of Chuck Berry’s “Roll Over Beethoven”.
Let Zooey make more movies and let M. Ward make more great albums but I hope they get together more often to produce some fine music and some fine live shows.
Thanks again StartBeginning for the great footage