Veda Hille at Joe’s Pub

Way back on April 27th, Jenn and I hitched a ride with our friend woj down into NYC to see Veda Hille at Joe’s Pub. It had been almost seven years since I’d last seen her play, when she performed her album Field Study (and showed the accompanying film) in woj and Meredith’s living room. The July heat that day did it’s best to melt my brain, but I still remember the packed room being completely enraptured by her. Since then Veda hadn’t crossed the border into the States very often (thanks, stupid U.S. visa hassle!), and hadn’t made it out New York at all, so I was really looking forward to the chance to see her again.

Joe’s Pub has a reputation of being somewhat of a hassle to see shows in, and I hadn’t been there for years, but on the quiet Sunday night when we saw Veda it was almost entirely free of annoyances. We got there a few minutes early and joined a group of ectophiles who had staked out good seats, and the waitress was laid back about us buying drinks. All of that meant that I was free to concentrate on the show without distractions.

Veda was awesome. She was accompanied only by Ske Brooks on drums (and some vocals), but that was all she needed. On piano, keyboard and tenor guitar, she performed a great set of songs, mainly taken from her most recent album, This Riot Life. I had been lame about getting her last few CDs, so between that failing of mine and her playing things that weren’t on any of her albums, almost the entire set consisted of material I hadn’t heard before. That just meant that I got to be amazed by each song as I heard it for the first time. Wow.

As an extra bonus feature, I got to get Vienna Teng hooked on Veda too, by encouraging her to go to the show. I felt inordinately proud of myself for that one. Jenn helped too, by sharing her cash so Vienna could buy two of Veda’s CD instead of just one, as Joe’s Pub had decided to make Ms. Teng pay twice to get in, claiming that they didn’t have the ticket she’d bought in advance. Susan McKeown probably would have been at the show also, if I’d given her more notice about the concert, but it didn’t end up working out. Sorry about that, Susan. In other musician sightings, Erin McKeown had made the long drive down to the city, so I guess she’s a definite Veda fan too.

After the show there was much hanging out and chatting with Veda and various ectophiles (including Vienna, an ectophile herself from back in the day). In the end, the trip back wasn’t over until 3am, so I was a zombie the next day. Was it worth it? Absolutely.

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