The first of Swedish chanteuse El Perro Del Mar‘s four NYC shows was a free one last night at Zebulon in Williamsburg, a warm bistro-ish space that usually plays host to Afro-jazz. The rain didn’t stop anyone from coming, and was SRO by the time the shy Swede took the stage around 9 PM. (The show was advertised as being 10PM which caused some to miss it. Not cool, Zebulon!)
Wearing a painters-smock-like dress and longish hair tucked into a knitted beret (not quite the Mia Farrow image projected on her album cover) El Perro Del Mar took the stage with an acoustic guitar and three dirty-haired dudes in suits as her backing band (guitar, bass, drums) and proceeded to run through most of her self-titled debut. Cassevetes’ 1959 film Shadows provided stage lighting.
Her songs are like folky, minor-chord Motown; spooky and beautiful. While she faithfully recreated them at Zebulon, she doesn’t have much of a stage presence. I don’t think she said more than ten words total between songs, which fits her waifish persona, but even with that ethereal voice it wasn’t quite enough to fully transport. A nice show nonetheless and perfect for a rainy Sunday night… even if she didn’t play my favorite song, "God Knows."
Interestingly, I don’t think a single photo was taken at the show, at least not one with flash. A rarity in these Flickr’d times.
If you’re thinking of checking her out this week, I’d advise trying for tonight’s performance at Joe’s Pub. El Perro Del Mar is definitely a sit-down affair. Tomorrow she plays Union Hall (which might also be sit-down) and Mercury Lounge on Wednesday (opening for the Annuals).
I'm actually ok with not seeing her live if she didn't blow you away. I would prefer no performance to a lackadaisical one any day. Great to meet you btw.
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