Lavender Diamond singer Becky Stark makes her entrance dressed in a blood-red velvet dress and announces, "Congratulations Everyone! For Peace has finally come to Planet Earth!"
The room tittered, waiting for the punchline, but there was none, which definitely threw most of us for a loop. And with this the tone of the evening was set. The L.A. band has been drawing accolades for it’s innocent brand of folk, though most everyone focuses on Stark. It’s hard not to. The rest of the band sit in the background while she stands in the spotlight, a beaming smile, Midwest, gee-whiz cadence (to me she sounded just like Alfalfa from the Little Rascals) and, most importantly, that voice.
A classically trained tenor, Stark’s pipes cut through the room and at times, like on "You Broke My Heart" it was mesmerizing. With the title serving as a refrain, it is beautiful and sad. Other times it’s a bit like, as someone sitting near me said, "talent night at the insane asylum." She is earnest, childlike and more than a little eccentric. Is this for real or some sort of stage persona? (I am told it is not an act.) Whatever the case, the Stark on stage has a strange ability to bewitch, and by the time of the group sing-a-long finale, a large portion of the room had become converts.
Lavenderdiamond.com offers a couple mp3s off their sole EP, The Cavalry of Light, including "You Broke My Heart." The band signed to Rough Trade with an album due out in early 2007.
Photo swiped from m.norr’s Flickr photostream. She was sitting close enough to me that I remember seeing this on the lcd display of her camera when she took it.