Review by Greg Haymes
Photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk
During “Actress,” the closing song on Syd Straw’s latest album Pink Velour, she sings, “I saw my name up on the marquee. They spelled it wrong, but it still looked good to me. I’m having that kind of career.”
That kind of career, indeed. The fact that her “latest” album was released five years ago might partially explain that kind of career. Well, that and the fact that she’s only released a grand total of three albums over the course of her 24-year solo career. Clearly, Syd Straw doesn’t play by the typical musical industry rules.
And she doesn’t deliver any kind of typical concert, either. At The Linda – where the marquee did spell out her name correctly – she admitted early on that she was trying not to talk too much. But she just couldn’t help herself on that count, and when she sang the lyrics, “I will, like a brook, babble on,” during “Papier Mache,” old fans knew what she meant and new fans were about to find out.
Between songs she chatted about putting on too much make-up, Miley Cyrus, why she likes to read The New Yorker, pandas, Fiona Apple’s run-in with a heckler and lots more. “It only seems like 17 minutes between songs,” she said, only half-joking. But that’s part of her charm. Well, that and the fact that she frequently chatted with her dog, Carol Burnett, who laid down calmly at her feet onstage for the majority of the show. And in the middle of her show, Straw broke into an a cappella rendition of “There Are Worse Things I Could Do” from the musical “Grease” and sang the whole song.
“I forget. Is this a show, or are we just having lunch?” she asked at one point.