Review of Heahter's concert in lower Manhattan 1998
If ever there was a room built for the likes of an otherworldly, sensuous songstress such as
Heather Nova then it would have to be the Shine Performance Space/Lounge in lower Manhattan.
The trippy decor and groovy house music (Byrds, Chambers Brothers, Zombies) made me feel as if I had stumbled onto the set of Magic Christian or Carlo Ponti's Blow Up . Fans waited patiently in a line that stretched down West Broadway and turned around the corner for Ms. Nova's only area appearance in support of her excellent new album, Siren. Not long after the club doors opened, Heather, clad in a tight black tank top and jeans, appeared on the cluttered stage basked in purple and blue light. With her streaked blonde hair cascading around her shoulders, she and her four piece ensemble immediately launched into "I'm the Girl," one of the many standout tracks on her new record. The band, consisting of a rhythm section augmented with a cellist, settled into a slinky T.Rex/Led Zeppelin groove that had the audience in rapture for the entire evening. Using an old Fender guitar mostly as a prop, Nova's set list consisted primarily of fresh material. Despite the fact that Siren had only been available for less that two weeks, the crowd danced and sang along with each new, warmly received number. Her live versions of "Blood of Me" and "Heart and Shoulder," both tales of stormy relationships, thundered under the relentless flickering of strobe lights and slide images. For her new single, "London Rain," Nova sang ardently under a projection of leaves and water droplets. Reaching back to her major label debut, Oyster, Heather switched to an acoustic guitar and delivered a spirited rendition of her hit "Heal" accompanied only by an electric cello and ambient guitar sounds. She continued on in this vein for newer songs "Paper Cup," and "Winterblue." As her engagement drew to a close, the group continued with a bracing interpretation of "Walk This World," while older works "Sugar" and "Truth & Bone," from the first encore, were vividly enhanced with droning guitar wah-wahs and layers of distortion. Enticed back for a second curtain call, Heather surprised her fans with a quiet reading of Bruce Springsteen's "Fire."
Without a doubt, Heather Nova is a major talent with songs and musicianship that give evidence of her gifts as a performer. The pace of the concert was at times breakneck, and it would have been nice if she paused occasionally to give the audience time to take in the barrage of sound and visuals. And a few words about the songs would have been interesting too. Regardless, her new album and tour should establish Nova as a force to be reckoned with in popular music.
-- Tom Semioli
Source : http://twomp.com/amplifier/novalive.htm