This review is a little overdue, but better late than never. Anna Nalick preformed live at the 9:30 Club in norther Washington D.C. on Tuesday October 11th. The opening act was a group called Blue Merle. Now this review is a supposed to be about the show I saw, but it will be difficult not to make it a review of her debut album Wreck of the Day. Either way, I have positive feelings about both, but the two have very different aspects that make them good.
To get the minor details out of the way, I’ll mention the venue. The 9:30 Club isn’t exactly the coolest club I’ve been to. Its not very attractive on the outside and the interior isn’t exactly exciting. It does have two floors, the second of which has a large balcony overlooking the first. The one thing this place has going for it is that it makes for a very up-close-and-personal show. I could actually see the stage well and I didn’t need a jumbo screen to see the artists’ faces.
Blue Merle opened the show. This group isn’t bad and with time, they might grow on me. I must say I was a little dissappointed because I was told the lead singer, Luke Reynolds, supposedly sounded like Coldplay frontman Chris Martin. Suffice it to say, it wasn’t true. Unfortunately, most of the music seemed to overpower the lyrics. I couldn’t hear what was being sung, which made it kinda hard to follow allong. They weren’t a bad band, just not a good one.
This brings me to Anna Nalick. The show started off stong with Citadel. The song is pretty solid so it was a good choice and a nice beginning. Nalick tends to do little dances while she sings. She’s not exactly an amazing stage dancer, but it is better than simply standing and singing. Unfortunately, after her opening song, she dismissed her band and announced she had laryngitice. I was not happy, because I thought she was going to cut the show short. Lucky for me, she believes in giving her fans their money worth. She changed the show to an acoustic performance.
I like the music, which makes a huge difference when it comes to critiquing the show. In my opinion, a good show requires three things, good music, a good voice, and stage presence. I’ve already commented on the music, but Nalick’s voice is her true strength. Despite her bout of illness, she never missed a note. She sang every song clearly. One thing that really impressed me is that she sounded like she did on her CD. In an age of digital enhancement, its hard to tell what is true talent and what is computer aided. Some artists, Maroon 5 for example, sound nothing like their CD when they preform live.
For the final component, stage presence, Nalick has a good beginning. She’s young, hip, and funny. Through out the show, she constantly traded witty remarks with the audience. She also likes to tell stories, which are usually pretty good. It worked well for her in such a small personal setting. She can interact with the crowd and keep everyone engaged. Unfortunately, I don’t think this would work that well in a bigger venue. You can’t chat with the audience when you’re performing in front of hundreds of people. I think the stage presence you need to play to a big venue will come with time.
I hope Anna Nalick becomes a little more mainstream. She isn’t super popular, but she’s not unheard of either. Her album went gold last week. If she lasts, I think we can expect great things from her. If you haven’t already, check out her album Wreck of the Day. You won’t be disappointed.