Live Review: Sharon Van Etten + Marisa Anderson @ The Institute, Birmingham – 26/11/2014

It’s wet, it’s cold and it’s a dark night in November – tonight needs a winter warmer of a great atmosphere and sweet, sweet music.

Marisa Anderson’s calm and gentle presence instantly puts the audience at ease. Sadly, you can’t hear the first three song titles which are somewhat muffled by the microphone but nonetheless Marisa makes for a unique and memorable appearance, her blues rock instantly conjuring up the American countryside, with deep southern undertones within her playing style. Marisa is a pure instrumental talent, there are no vocals whatsoever throughout the set which intensifies her guttural and earthy guitar-work.

“Doc Watson was one of those people who knew every song to know,” admits Anderson of one of her heroes; “most people don’t play left handed, or upside down,” in reference to Elizabeth Cotton, another famous guitarist who inspired her.

After a gentle goodbye, the audience welcomes Sharon Van Etten to the stage along with a much livelier set. The atmosphere is electric as she delivers her mix of soul, rock and soaring vocals which permeate the soul. Playing a variety from her back catalogue, Van Etten begins with the popular Save Yourself (from second album, Epic) which gets the floor moving and swinging along to the melodic and haunting sound that the entire band produces.

“There’s a lot of good laughs tonight,” Sharon quips with the crowd. As an artist her vocals easily soar to captivating crescendos with effortless ease before descending back into calmness.

Tonight Marisa Anderson shines within her performance and moves the crowd with heartfelt music whilst Sharon Van Etten brings them into a dreamlike yet alive state, powerfully conveying emotion and thought through her sweeping yet beautiful vocals.

Two must-see artists, highly recommended.

Words: Khrystine Blount | Photos: Courtney Blount


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here