“I don’t recommend taking naps in the van before a show,” quipped Archer Records recording artist Amy LaVere early in the Thursday evening show downstairs at Valentine’s. Though she may have felt a bit groggy, LaVere’s singing and upright bass playing were vibrant as she led her band through a dozen songs that showed tremendous imagination and taste. She and her extremely talented band had the small but fervent crowd mesmerized from the word go.
Opening with perhaps her best known song, “Killing Him” from the Jim Dickinson-produced 2007 album “Anchors and Anvils,” LaVere established that the next hour and a half was going to be a fun immersion into the darkness and quirkiness of the world. “Washing Machine” cranked out the Memphis funk; Doug Cousar’s bugged-out guitar and Krista Wroten-Combest’s swaggering violin answered and swirled around a tale of how “maybe one day it’ll all work out. “Never Been Sadder” from 2005’s “This World Is Not My Home” was an upbeat, sad song, sounding like a lost Gypsy folk song set to a Johnny Cash beat set by drummer Shawn Zorn.