August 15, 2008

(I didn't really feel like flash photography was polite, so I didn't do it. Again, I'm not the type to jump up and get right under the artist's nose, so the photos are as good as they are)

I think that it is a shame that there are so many beautiful songs and amazing artists, and, on top of that, there are so few words to uniquely describe how amazing these artists are. Don't get me wrong, I love that I listen to amazing music all day long, but it makes it difficult to express how important I think an artist is when I've many times before said great things about other artists. I've gotten caught up in the clichéd "blogger" thing where I use ridiculous terms and half-assed analogies to describe the music, analogies that don't actually make any sense.

I find myself in a dilemma when describing Priscilla Ahn. The first thing that comes to mind is that she comes off as one of the most genuine musicians I've ever heard, but then you get into spotty territory because there's little to no way to prove or disprove someone's authenticity, and what sounds genuine to me may not to someone else. I suppose, however, that that's the big dilemma that comes with describing any sort of art though. Since it's all based on opinion, who knows whether or not what I'm saying holds any validity with what someone else thinks is good.

The fact of the matter is that Priscilla Ahn is a sweetheart and an amazing musician.

I recently had the opportunity to see her perform a small set at some sort of regional business conference and it was just one of the most unique music experiences I've ever had. She was the first artist to perform for the first day of the conference (apparently people from every label have an artist play for the first 20 minutes of each hour long lecture). I'd shown up a little early, so after getting my pass secured, going to the local record store (picking up a Jandek vinyl and the vinyl copy of the soundtrack to Saturday Night Fever, to mention a few), and eating, I came back and stood around awkwardly while businesspeople exclaimed "Merger this! Merger that! Democrats!" and eyed my torn jeans and lion-faced t-shirt (not that they were judging, they were just a little confused). On my way to the door to the room Priscilla was supposed to be playing in in about 15 minutes I felt a tap on my shoulder and heard an "excuse me?" My pass in hand I turned around figuring I was about to asked to please explain myself. It turned out it was a fella I'd met at a my buddy Tom's wedding. This fella worked for the company providing sound for the event. I had contemplated asking him if I could get back stage and interview Priscilla, but figured that since it was like 5 minutes until she was to go on, I wouldn't exactly be welcome.

The doors opened and I went in and sat down near the front. After overhearing more "merger merger Democrats!" a woman came over and asked who I was with. Because I'm crazy I actually said "Someone to Love More Than Music," and she had the complimentary "ohh yeah ..." followed by "... what is that?" Again, because the opportunity was just perfect for it, I handed her one of the dumb little card I've printed off that have my url and all that jazz. She took it and smiled and walked away nodding and smiling.

Priscilla timidly took the stage, placed things where she needed them (her looper pedal had all ready been hooked up), introduced herself, and started her 4 song set. All I have to say is that her album doesn't portray how absolutely heavenly her voice is. Okay, I've got more to say than that: On a couple songs she looped her vocals creating a sort of "choir of me" effect, and, as Priscilla went on to observe after the show, the choir seemed to fit together quite well. Her softness was accented by her unadulterated vocal power. So captivated was the audience after the first song that it took them a second to realize that the song had ended before the clapping started. The audience was not in an uproar, but I equate that with the fact that the crowd was not an uproar-type. The next 3 songs followed suit, trading volume and explosiveness with sweet sincerity at times, and vice versa other times.

After the stunning set I left the room because at that point I truly felt that my presence was unnecessary. I waited outside to see if she might come out and I could ask to interview her. Well she did come out and I awkwardly mumbled something along the lines of "nice set" as she started her way down the hall with her manager (this coming from the guy who has no reserves about asking anyone anything. Trust me, I was just as confused as you may be). Right before she rounded the corner I got over my awkwardness and caught up with her and asked if she could do a short little interview.

Now here's where the story becomes tragic. No, Priscilla was a sweatheart and was all about having an interview. If fact we sat down for about five minutes and talked about her influences and bits of how music was a part of her childhood, and I think at some point I inadvertently said something that may have been construed as an insult, but since Priscilla is basically the sweetest person ever, she just laughed. Yes, it was an awesome little conversation-driven interview the likes of which I'll never see again (okay, that makes it sound like it was the Ben Hur of interviews. That's so not true, but keep with me, I'm building up to this last sentence). The tragedy is that I lost the audio file. I also lost the audio file of the set. I was so tired last night that while my computer was running another search, I started picking up papers on my desk, until I realized that there's no way an wav file can exist outside the digital world (what, I was really tired). I don't know how it happened. I'm majorly bummed. If I had the ability to remember things perfectly, I'd write down what was said, but I'm no where near that talented.

So, Priscilla, if you're reading this, I'm so sorry I lost the file and, in a sense, wasted your time :(. I had a great time talking to you, and would love to do it again sometime.

SO, because I don't have files for the live set and I don't have the interview, I'm going to push myself and actually do a little more work today and write a review for the CD she put out (this is said with a bit of irony, realize. I've been slacking so hardcore with this blog thing that it's not even funny). The review will be up moments after this hits the internet.

If you have the chance, see Priscilla Ahn. Here is her show list:

Friday, August 15 (today)
Lyons, CO
Folks Festival

Saturday, August 16
Denver, CO
Twist & Shout
2508 E. Colfax Ave., 80206

Saturday, August 16
Englewood, CO
Gothic Theatre
3263 S. Broadway, 80113-2425

Sunday, August 17
Aspen, CO
Belly Up
450 S. Galena St., 81611

Monday, August 25
Vancouver, BC
The Media Club
695 Cambie Street, V6B 2P1
Tuesday, August 26
Seattle, WA
Triple Door
1401 3rd Avenue, 98101
Wednesday, August 27
Portland, OR
1332 W.Burnside, 97209

Saturday, August 30
San Francisco, CA
The Independent
628 Divisadero Street, 94117-1502

Monday, September 01
Napa, CA
Napa Valley Opera House
1030 Main Street, 94559

Thursday, September 04
Saratoga, CA
Mountain Winery

Saturday, September 06
Santa Barbara, CA
Santa Barbara Bowl
1122 N. Milpass, 93101

1 comment:

Bill Robertson said...

I loved watching Priscilla Ahn at the Santa Barbara Bowl ..! Thanks for the beautiful post. Bill