Owen Pallett + Jessica Says @ The Old Museum, 25.01.2011

One of the easiest ways to really irritate a music photographer is to wait until they arrive at the venue, tell them that it’s the first three songs with no flash and then play in almost complete darkness.  Owen Pallett achieves this with aplomb tonight, although unlike many artists with a seemingly irrational hatred of photographers, the lights don’t come on in the fourth song and he continues to play without light for the whole duration of his performance.  I’m surprised there is a Ryan Adams gig-style rebellion from the crowd, demanding that the lights be turned up so they can see what they’ve paid to see.  It’s one of the few times in recent times that I can recall when I’ve really wanted a higher spec/more expensive camera.

I’d always liked what I’d heard of Owen Pallett, but tonight it just feels that his musical palette (did you see what I did there) isn’t enough; violin, keyboards, loop pedals for each and every song.  I mean it nice and everything, and he’s got a great voice, but it just lacks variety when repeated over an hour and more.  At the end I just feel that I want to go home and listen to Patrick Wolf.

Jessica Says supports and provides some sub-Kate Bush fare (although everything and everyone ever is basically sub-Kate Bush fare).  Extreme light relief is provided in her final song when she throws in some hand moves at specific points in the song.  It’s not that it’s replicating Madonna-style vogue moves as much as its replicating the hand-across-the-face move from the Electroclash episode of the Mighty Boosh; you can physically see the audience collectively trying not to burst into laugher.

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