Land of Talk at Great American Music Hall, San Francisco

Post Author: Dan Sarna

At first I think Land of Talk were a bit unsure how to play to a formally seated and daintily dining audience. Only a handful of people took to the floor, and those that did were inert under food comas. There must be some sort of interdict on rock-related activity while the food is out because after two or three songs, most of the tables had been cleared and I was surrounded by plenty of people. Some had even begun nodding heads and swaying contently. In this expanded habitat of sedate bodies, the music had an easy time playing on our passivity.

The songs themselves are crisp and self-contained. The feelings they accompany are contagious, and they (melodies and moods) can bounce around in your head for days. Tonight the songs were cloaked in the trio’s well blended texture and appropriate allotment of loudness. They filled out with rhythmic intensity and vocal investment and warped a bit under some dynamic manipulation. The crowd seemed to be most affected by the sharp and intense instrumental sections, and tended to sway and nod with more fervor the heavier and dirtier the sound got. In between songs, to accord with the seated-dinner ambiance, lead singer Elizabeth Powell struck up some casual conversation with the audience:

“I think this is the most beautiful room I’ve ever been (pronounced bean) in‚Ķ..been, bean, ben??” Suggestions poured in from the audience and band members. “Whatev. I’m up here. So I guess it’s bean.”

By the end of the set, everyone was on their feet, many were dancing and the tables had been cleared. I finally found a surface to put my beer on, but then I had to bounce (and I showed up a late) so I didn’t get to see either the Rosebuds or the Morning Benders, but I bet they rocked and the people dug them.

–Dan Sarna