As soon as I enter Lizotte's this wave of calm comes over me. It's like I've come home. I felt that way the first time I went there and every time since. It never grows old and I'll never tire of its perfection as a venue.
The venue itself is old and glorious, the decor rock and roll and eye catching. It's intimate, you pay a little more for that privilege, as it should be. And for the most part the crowd is wonderful. I say for they must part because unfortunately you get the odd bogan or over-drinker and that can really spoil the vibe. This is not a venue to come and get pissed at. Thank god!
We had seats upstairs, the best ones in that area. You look down on the stage, closeish and scenic.
Tonight C, J, L, & I were seeing Megan Washington. None of us had seen her live before so we were all a bit excited.
I first came across Megan on Spicks and Specks, a long time ago. It was an early show, she was relatively unknown, and Alan Brough was beside himself. He said her voice brought him to tears. I remember thinking wow and then later she sang and he was right. I can't remember what now, I think it was a jazz cover. I was sold.
Back then she was mostly doing jazz, contemporary and traditional. Also some soaring ballads. This is what I love hearing her sing the most, it's what suits her voice. It didn't take long for her to take off. I knew it would happen, she was supremely talented.
And so to the concert. The support was a dude called Simon playing in a band called the Tambourine Girls. (note I had been typing this as Tamborine even though I knew it was incorrect spelling due to the Lizotte's menu, thinking it was intentional...it was not...shame!!!) Except they were just Simon and his guitar, amusing! He was a great singer/songwriter with a plugged in acoustic. My favourite type of artist. He had a great voice, reminded me a bit of Tim Hardin. He was cute, funny, and talented and had a lovely stage presence.
Halfway through Megan joined him on stage for a rousing rendition of The Everly Brothers' All I have to do is dream. Wow. They sounded great together and her harmonies had me in tears, not for the last time that evening. What a treat.
He finished his set with grace and humor. I bought his CD later on when leaving, it is excellent.
After a break Megan took the stage, just her and a keyboard. she went straight into the music, not much chatter. I love chatter on stage, but not when it takes away from the music. Now, whilst I love her voice, have her albums etc, I wouldn't call myself a fan. I know her music enough to recognise songs, but not sing along or say that's such and such a tune. Sometimes that is a good thing I think, it takes away expectations, allows you surprises, makes you listen harder to the lyrics or notes. It enhances the live experience if it is seemingly new or rather not really familiar.
She mostly sung ballads, melancholy songs, the songs I love the most, the songs that suit her voice. Occasionally she told little tales, but mostly let her art do the talking. Simon joined her on stage for a few numbers too, they worked really well together.
She was a shy, humble performer yet commanding of the art, completely at home getting lost in the music, almost like sometimes she forgot she was on stage. And then every now and then it seems like she realised others were in the room, this is where the shyness and humbleness came in. So she was a mix of free spirit and confidence, and self consciousness to watch, which is utterly beguiling and incredibly charismatic.
And that voice: there are no words to describe such beauty, angelic and perfection come to mind, but really it is much more than that.
The set was song after song, fragility, melancholy, haunting beauty, and little snippets of irreverence and humour. Her voice an open line directly to her heart and soul, her playing strong and brilliant.
Towards the end she surprised me with a great cover of Shivers. It's a great, great song and one I've heard no-one cover well. She did, she got it, she kept it as it was meant to be sung just altering some of the warbly bits which work for Nick but wouldn't have for her. She used these to showcase her extreme range, stunning and it married her style to the original, this is how you do a cover well.
Here is a version, found by someone I was chatting to about the concert late last night online, have a listen.
Towards the end she did some hilarious bit about hating encores and that she wasn't going to do one and we had to pretend she had done one and now she'd sing the hits. It was a funny and real moment. A lovely insight into the girl herself.
We all left feeling warm and happy, I know any time I leave Lizotte's I feel my soul has been well and truly fed. It you've never seen Megan Washington, she's a must, and real performer who sounds better on the stage than on a recording.