Sunday, July 27, 2014

Music: Sara Bareilles "Little Black Dress Tour" concert review

The Hard Rock Live is a bland, industrial venue inside the Seminole Hard Rock casino complex. Its stage is flanked by rows of hard plastic seats. The walls and decor are flat and ugly. The nosebleed section is so far up and off to the side that it's hard to believe anyone could watch a show there. But on Friday night, singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles turned the place into the liveliest joint in Hollywood, Florida.

Bareilles played piano, strummed the guitar, and swore like a sailor as she treated the crowd to a playful set of tunes from her newest album, "The Blessed Unrest," as well as all of her old hits. Effects were minimal, limited to synchronized lighting and a video screen at the back of the stage. That didn't take away from the show, though - Bareilles's voice came through clear and strong, cutting through energetic songs like "Little Black Dress" and "Chasing the Sun" with ease.

The crowd was instantly brought to its feet by her most popular singles, "Love Song" and "Brave":

Despite what would be deserved aplomb after being nominated for several Grammys and selling millions of records, Bareilles was sarcastic and self-deprecating throughout. "This is the sad part of the show" she admitted, as she launched into "Manhattan"; she later joked that most of her love-related songs were so depressing that people didn't want to add them to their wedding playlists. Even in the slow parts, however, Bareilles's talent trumped all. Though I'm not a hardcore fan of hers, I think "The Little Black Dress Tour" is well worth a look if it stops in your area.

[The opening acts, Hannah Georgas and Emily King, were good but didn't have the seasoning and polish of Bareilles. Georgas's set of Feist-like indie songs were pleasant but not rousing. King's delivery was full of new-school R&B jump, but she rushed from one song to another without talking to the crowd, and her set was over before you knew it. They'll both benefit from the exposure and example set by Bareilles]


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