LIVE: Brandi Carlile @ Palace Theater, 5/23/15
Photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk
You want drama? Brandi Carlile’s got plenty…
Carlile and her band were hitting on all cylinders when the took to the stage of Albany’s Palace Theatre on Memorial Day weekend. In fact, Carlile was so locked in with bandmates – led by her longtime compatriots the Hanseroth twins – Tim on guitar and Phil on bass, who both add stunning sibling vocal harmonies – that you would have never guessed that it was only the second night of the tour in support of her fine new album, The Firestarter’s Daughter.
Although often lumped in with the ever-expanding Americana crowd, it’s difficult, if not impossible, to pin down Carlile’s music to any one particular genre. At the Palace, she shifted gears effortlessly from old school country to aching piano ballads, from blistering garage rock to keening bluegrass, all anchored by her gutsy, gritty voice and stellar songwriting talent.
The new Firestarter’s Daughter songs sounded fresh and vibrant, but so too did such nuggets from her back catalog as the dynamic “The Story” and the soulful, Bonnie Raitt-like “That Wasn’t Me.”
And what a delightful, diverse sprinkling of cover tunes thrown into the two-hour concert’s heady mix, stretching from Fleetwood Mac to the Avett Brothers.
After two previous knock-out shows at The Egg’s Hart Theatre (in 2010 and 2012), Carlile has moved up a notch on Nippertown’s concert venue ladder. And judging by this show, she’s not done climbing yet…
Carlile couldn’t have asked for a better opening act than Anderson East. The fast-rising Alabama soul singer didn’t just warm up the crowd; he heated ’em up to the boiling point with a solid, sizzling batch of originals (particularly “Keep the Fire Burning”) and like-minded vintage soul covers, including Eddie Floyd’s “Knock On Wood.” And when he wrapped up his righteous, 40-minute set with “Satisfy Me,” well, it seemed as though more than a few members of the audience could have gone home right then completely satisfied, having already gotten their money’s worth.
Jim Shahen Jr.’s review at The Times Union
Excerpt from Kirsten Ferguson’s review at The Daily Gazette: “Carlile’s gutsy, soaring voice is its own instrument of drama, and she moved right into ‘The Story,’ which starts as a ballad before veering mid-song into a thunderous rocker. It’s one of Carlile’s best-known songs, due to its airing in a Toyota commercial during the 2008 Olympics, from her sophomore release. It takes some gumption to start a show with your most recognized song, but Carlile has plenty of that. It’s what made her performance so thrilling. She took the crowd on an electrifying two-hour ride, where she frequently shifted the configuration of the band and tempo of the songs for maximum, dramatic effect. ‘This is the second night of our tour. Portland, Maine, got our mistakes. You get our determination,’ she said from the stage.”
BRANDI CARLILE SET LIST
The Stranger at My Door
Hard Way Home
That Wasn’t Me
Beginning to Feel the Years
Keep Your Heart Young
Work Song (Hozier)
I Belong to You
Wherever Is Your Heart
Blood Muscle Skin & Bone
The Chain (Fleetwood Mac)
Pride and Joy
Murder in the City (the Avett Brothers)