Concert Review: Bachelorette, Magnetic Fields, March 30, Sound Academy

“I’m not sure if I told you, I’m Bachelorette. I’m not The Magnetic Fields … and this is not the song I just played.” These words were spoken by New Zealander Annabel Alpers, AKA Bachelorette (and not The Magnetic Fields) early on in her set. It was quirky and charming, as was much of the rest of her stage banter. I don’t know if this is a cultural stereotype or not, but quirky and charming is kind of what I imagine everyone from New Zealand to be like. Yeah, I probably watch too much Flight of The Conchords.  Regardless, she impressed with her electronic tunes, and seemed to be enjoying “the Toronto vibe.”  With any solo performer, a good onstage presence is important.  Alpers had an engaging (and yes, quirky) personality that really helps to draw in a crowd.  She introduced one song as being from 2005, adding, “I’ve been around awhile.”  Kind of surprised I’ve never heard of her before now.

Where Bachelorette was quirky and charming, Magnetic Fields frontman Stephin Merritt was sarcastic and deadpan.  And absolutely hilarious.  When some fan shouted out a request for “Busby Berkeley Dreams,” Merritt replied that they do not do requests and that “The last time we took a request, it didn’t go very well.”  OK, it doesn’t sound all that funny on paper, but in person, I got a good laugh out of it.  There was also this gem: “This is called ‘The Book Of Love.’  It’s very popular.  Some people have it sung at their weddings. I will have it sung at my funeral.”  And who can forget: “This song is called ‘Come Back From San Francisco.’ It’s about someone who went to San Francisco…” 

Merritt being a prolific songwriter, he’s got a wealth of tunes to choose from in any given set.  This of course means someone’s favourite might get left of the list (although the aforementioned “Busby Berkeley Dreams” did eventually get played as the closer.  I guess Merritt just doesn’t like being told when to play songs … then again, who really would?) but it also means they’ve got a lot of great songs to choose from, so I doubt anyone really walked away unsatisfied afterwards.

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Posted on by Paul in Concerts, Everything

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