SXSW Review: Grace Weber, March 19, St. David’s Bethell Hall

Every time I drop in on Bethell Hall, I’m presented with a surprise. Almost no one comes here to sing soul/gospel during SXSW. Grace Weber gave it her best shot.

There is a slight functional dichotomy here: while the music was energetic and expressive, the set was managed meticulously, devoid of annoying interruptions/intermittence. It’s like a canonized cadenza… but I digress. The smoothness of the set could be attributed to her years (since age 6?) of singing in the church, she mused at one point.

I thoroughly enjoyed the whole concert. The duet in “Like A Fool” with Elliott Skinner turned out as cleanly and beautifully as it did in studio. They also worked well together on a Rihanna cover, “Stay”. In fact, the songwriting is consistently good. With her (almost) unbelievably far-ranging voice, Weber brought the audience low and then took them to new heights within the span of a few minutes. This being gospel music, gestures and handclaps were flying everywhere like pheasants falling during hunting season in Sandringham House. But Weber, the band, and loyal fans in the audience were all enthusiastic, and contagiously so. There was this middle-aged Asian dude who cheered at every high note, and the young black man who waited several minutes to have a picture taken with the band. I know I’ll keep some of this in my collection: while “Perfect Stranger” might be a popular one, I’d suggest digging deeper into her album, The Refinery.

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Posted on by Gary in South By Southwest

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