Feist, Sharon Jones

Hollywood Bowl, July 20, 2008

By Gina Pollack

Feist filled the Hollywood Bowl with her unique blend of soft rhythms and acoustic melodies on July 20th, headlining KCRW’s World Music Festival, along with soul diva Sharon Jones and the Latin-inspired Pacifika.

Bringing her own indie flare to the urban cowgirl look, Feist emerged singing from behind a screen, letting her folk roots shine through, while treating fans to the light vocals that they know and love so well. The Canadian singer-songwriter instantly charmed audiences, encouraging everyone to sing along to “Mushaboom”, while poking fun at the Bowl’s intimate size. “It’s like I’m singing to a giant bowl of people,” she said melodically, as if it was just another song lyric.

(All photos by Timothy Norris. Click here for more from the show, including opener Pacifika.)

With such a celebrated voice, it would be easy for Feist to be removed and consumed with her own talent. But she lived up to the friendly Canadian stereotype by singing to the picnickers in the one dollar seats with a casual ease reserved for performing at a local coffee shop. Refusing to let her silky voice and conceptual lyrics fool skeptics, Feist proved to be a vibrant performer who seemed to want a good show just as much as anyone else. “I need more nonsensical hecklers!” she joked, asking her audience to yell out indecipherable requests to get things rolling. As a helicopter roared overhead, rudely interrupting her set, Feist stopped, pointed to the rumbling and said lightly, “Right on queue, but wrong key.”

Although some of her quieter songs require more attention, Feist managed to skillfully weave upbeat tunes into the set to keep her fans interested. “My Moon My Man” came alive on stage, as Feist tapped her feet to the rhythm and strummed her guitar alongside her band members, encouraging viewers to clap along. After the calm of a slow-paced song, “I Feel It All” was like a pleasant surprise, imbuing the whole Bowl with an incredible energy, the ringing piano keys melding with a jazzy beat to create an anthem of indie rock. As a performer, Feist managed to live up to her name, delivering resonating harmonies with enough spirit to bring energy to even the most mellow of songs.

Sharon Jones was certainly no stranger to energy either, bringing a new brand of sass to vintage soul, backed by the brass sounds of The Dap Kings. Jones entered the stage in a shiny silver lame dress, making clear that she had the guts to get away with pretty much anything. “I have short legs,” she said to the audience, shaking her body to the Motown beat, “Not like Tina Turner, but I do what I can with them!” And she did. Jones had so much energy that the audience got tired towards the end of her long set. But she, like Feist, did prove that soul is still very much alive.

— Gina Pollack. Photos by Timothy Norris. Click here for more photos from the show.

LA Weekly