Sharon Van Etten in Toronto

October 23, 2014 at 6:31 pm (Uncategorized) (, )

Ooh, this is way late, and there’s a lot to more important stuff to cover too, but if I don’t publish this now I never will.

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I’ll send you a love letter straight from my heart, fucker. Do you know what a love letter is? It’s a bullet from a fuckin’ gun, fucker. If you receive a love letter from me, you are fucked forever. Do you understand, fuck? I’ll send ya straight to Hell, fucker!

Whenever I listen to a Sharon Van Etten record, I get the feeling she’s channeling Frank Booth from the movie Blue Velvet. There’s a rawness, a danger in her words that approaches the fearsome Frank. And earlier this month Ms. Van Etten brought that danger to the Opera House.

New Zealand’s Tiny Ruins opened the show. The three-piece played an engaging pop-folk set, which unfortunately was drowned in the cavernous Opera House. The set started well, but I came to feel that it would have worked a lot better in a club like the Rivoli. (I remember a similar experience seeing the Cowboy Junkies at Ontario Place years back).

The first Sharon Van Etten song I heard was “Serpents” from her Tramp album. It’s not a representative song. It’s far punkier than most of her stuff, but it hooks you just the same. The Opera House set contained a lot of material from her new, and quite simply amazing album, Are We There. Van Etten joked with the audience between songs and then song after song astounded. For her final encore, she played the heartbreaking  “Every Time the Sun Comes Up.”

I was really looking forward to the show, since the last few times Van Etten came to town, I’d been unable to attend. It was worth the wait.

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