Kristin Hersh live review

Kristin Hersh live with support from The McCarricks at the Glee Club in Birmingham on Sunday 4th March 2007.

Kristin Hersh live with support from The McCarricks at the Glee Club in Birmingham on Sunday 4th March 2007.

The McCarricks

Kimberley and Martin McCarrick on violin and cello respectively create a wonderful melange of strings set to differing backing tracks, sounds and beats as well as an eclectic selection of film clips. Originally conceived as a project to accompany old black and white films, changes in legislation led them down a different path of using contemporary clips and collaborating with a wide range of artists, the most recent of which is Kristin Hersh. A pulsating and mesmerizing sound.

Kristin Hersh

Learn to Sing Like a StarKristin Hersh was always the more distinctive sound in the Throwing Muses (in my opinion of course¦). Whilst Tanya Donnellys post-Muses efforts were more swiftly apparent with the poppy and infectious Belly and then her more acoustic solo offerings, for me it was the wailing Hersh and the driving rhythms and guitars that set them apart. This evening she is accompanied by the McCarricks as on her new album Learn to sing like a star and thanks to some very good mixing, initially at least, it is a perfect complement. Rhythm section was courtesy of the guys from 50 Foot Wave, Hershs more rawk project. No wonder it all sounded so tight.

I first saw this extraordinary performer as part of the Throwing Muses on a double bill with the Pixies at a club in Birmingham in 1988 and appearance-wise not much has changed. She has ditched the A-line skirt for combats and T-shirt but is still slight, blonde and¦also demure; proving that you really dont need to leap around and go in for competition-level gurning for the music to be gut-wrenching, wild and totally unique, the intensity only belied by the focussed gaze once the song gets underway, vanishing during the light banter between tracks.

Many tracks came from her new album, Learn to sing like a star but given the live treatment they travelled right back to the Throwing Muses sounds. Hershs albums have received lukewarm response, barring perhaps the 1994 Hips and Makers which tonight yielded the hypnotic Your Ghost, the tortured, cathartic The Letter and as an encore Me and my charms. There really is a gulf of dynamism between the album sound and live sound; Hershs albums take a while to grow on you whereas the intensity of the live act is immediate – maybe a live album should be released because this concert was superb.

Submitted by Helen Ryba

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