03.31.09 | Rachel Yamagata | The Crocodile Cafe

This was my first show at the recently re-opened Crocodile Cafe, and it has definitely gotten a face lift. It now seems to be twice as big as the previous version. The stage and the bar have rotated 90 degrees. They took out the obnoxious giant pole that took up about half the view of the stage. The overall decor is very swanky, as evidenced by the slick black and white bathrooms! However, they need much more seating area. Standing sausaged between strangers for two hours is not fun (for most), and even less fun in heels. It was sometimes alleviated by Rachel's tunes, but during the stark acoustic numbers all I could think about were my throbbing feet!

I found myself bored (or maybe just distracted) during the slower numbers. However I really can't blame it all on my poor choice of footwear. When she plays these songs there is nothing to differentiate her from the bevy of other female, folksy, solo artists with long dark brown hair with the bangs in the eyes and the husky, cigarette-worn voice. And it doesn't helpthat when I was searching for more information about her on the internet something came up with her and Sara Bareilles in the same sentence. What she lacks in originality she compensated with a pleasantly orchestrated performance. The stage was decorated with flowers and stuffed animals. She thoughtfully balanced solo numbers with full band numbers. Her guitarist, Kevin Devine was insane during the closing song. The encore ended with the potential to be poignant - she brought a fan on stage to sing "Reason Why" with her - unfortunately, the girl was not that great in my opinion. While the girl knew how to sing in tune, she unfortunately she mistook the stage of the Croc to be an American Idol audition and added obnoxious Mariah Carey -esque vocal warbles after every.single.verse.

Rachel Yamagata's demographic seems to lie largely within the Asian and lesbian community, which is the inevitable result of being partially Asian in a mostly white indie music industry and being a female singer-songwriter. (See Thao with the Get Down Stay Down on how to avoid being typecast.) But for those of you who are not in this demographic, you may recognize her songs from one of the many popular teen television shows in which her music is licensed, which is not surprising if you think about it, as most of her songs are about breakups. So, damn, Rachel Yamagata is probably loaded from licensing royalties!

All in all, a good show, but one that would have been better enjoyed seated, and with a fruity cocktail in hand.

Pictures to come, if I can figure out how to get them off my iphone and onto my computer...

"Worn Me Down"

Snarky comment: she's really put on some weight...I wonder if she's preggers...
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