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Friday, April 15, 2005
Q: How can Annie make us all love her more?
A: Play her first US show with a live fucking band.

Yes, that's right, a live band. We showed up last night somewhat reluctantly, assuming we'd see Annie do 2 or 3 songs to a backing track, but when we espied the stage, there they were: instruments! Awesome.

This is not to say there weren't minuses to the whole experience. The sound wasn't great (Annie's vocals in particular were too low), the band was sorta loose (Annie said it was only their fifth show), and the place was crowded with people who seemed, at times, only vaguely interested in seeing Annie play. Also, the promised open bar failed to materialize.

But these were more than made up for by the pluses. For one, her band is called the Anniemals! Obvious but awesome! For another: new song! New freakin' song! It was called "The Wedding," had a great little live groove, and featured Annie doing things like, "Will you be mine? I do" (point) "I do" (point) "I do!" The band was much tighter on this than they were on almost anything else, and it sounded fantastic. I don't know why, but I got kind of a Kill Bill vibe from it.

They started off with the intro from the album, and jammed it out a little, which was interesting--made it sound a bit psyche or something. I don't recall the exact setlist, but Matthew should have it posted as soon as he gets home. (He also has the best comparison for "The Wedding," which I won't spoil here.) They did not play "Me + 1" or "Greatest Hit" and some of the songs were a bit less killer than I'd like them to be (most especially "Come Together," which will hopefully tighten up a lot before her proper tour, because, man) but "Chewing Gum" was reconfigured and really, really good. The really cute, enthusiastic keyboardist actually sang the first half of the verses through a vocoder, and the more sedate keybordist/guitarist doubled her vocoded on the chorus. The band as a whole was very Nordic, in the modern sense--the aforementioned sedate keyboardist/guitarist had a blonde ponytail and a gotee and a flannel shirt rolled up to reveal tatoos--and very good. There was some backing track going on, but it did seem to be mainly live. This is good--I think if the Scissor Sisters have proved anything, it's that a good live act goes a long way.

And then she left, and we all yelled for "Heartbeat," and she came back on and played "Heartbeat!" Man.

So yeah. I'll definitely see her again when she comes back, and I assume the set she'll play then will top this one, but this gig will have a special place in my little fanboy heart.