Scarce, Back at The Plough and Stars, with Mary Lou Lord

I’d really enjoyed Scarce when I saw them in duo form a few months ago at The Plough and Stars. So when my concert buddy M told me they’d be back last Wednesday I was psyched to go. The P&S site said the show was starting at 10:30, but apparently Scarce started more like around 10. I was bummed that I’d only caught the end of their set, but luckily after Mary Lou Lord‘s set they went back up for a few more songs, and then MLL finished up with a few more as well (although I didn’t stick around for her second set).

I’m not really into folk chicks with guitars, so I can’t really judge MLL that objectively, although like many folk musicians she draws from the well that is Bob Dylan a bit too often and too deeply. As is her wont she also included a fair number of covers, although none with a whole lot of distinction. During the majority of her first set she was accompanied by Dave Fischer on lead guitar who also provided lead vocals on the somewhat-out-of-place-given-the-otherwise-fairly-chill-ambience-of-the-intimate-venue cover of The Who’s “Substitute”. But when she went solo for a few songs at the end it became clear that she really doesn’t benefit from the beefier sound: the unique qualities of her voice and her playing become much more apparent, and for me much more enjoyable, when she’s on her own. The song “The Wind Blew All Around Me” stood out in particular, although there were a few others I liked as well.

Not a whole lot to add about Scarce other than what I said in my previous post about them. There are some people that I don’t really feel the need to see multiple times (e.g. Cut Copy who are hitting the new House of Blues on Sunday), particularly within the span of just a few months, but there’s something about the vibe of the duo and in this venue that would make me more than happy to see them again soon. Their music is unassuming, musically interesting, and evocative, and their performance is both committed and playful; they’re clearly people wholly enjoying themselves and each moment onstage. If you haven’t already checked out their MySpace page you should. And now I’m really looking forward to their new album, whenever that may be.

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