Chris Walsh (chris_walsh) wrote,
Chris Walsh
chris_walsh

The Call has been heard (Marian Call!)

As some of you know, Marian Call writes and sings geek-friendly, science-friendly, songs -- often clever, often heartfelt. Like "Good Morning Moon." I know this now, too: I'd heard so before, but Saturday night I went to her concert in Portland restaurant The Slide Inn. It was literally the first time I'd heard any of her music, but people I trust vouch for her (like Angela and Aubrey Webber of The Doubleclicks) and live music is always worth a try so...

Call was greeting people like a boss at the front of the restaurant, because it's easier to make a one-on-one connection like that in a venue like that. We'd corresponded before via Twitter, sharing stories of car misadventures -- which are harder to deal with in Alaska, where she lives -- and, I think and hope, making each of us smile. We definitely did at the restaurant. So did the others there, filling the place to comfortable near-capacity. I got there early enough (thanks to driving) to have appetizers, found a seat near the back and listened.

I considered taking a seat near the front, but decided I had enough chance to be twitchy that it would be distracting. If I get twitchy, do it near the back! I don't think I twitched, but it was a good precaution.

Call mixed original songs, covers, and modified covers: she performed Tom Lehrer's "The Elements," then sang the extra verse Lehrer added to cover elements discovered after he'd written it, THEN sang her own verse with elements from science fiction, like corbomite and unobtainium. (I won't spoil her punch line, but I approve of it.) One nice original was "Highway 5," a tribute to the West Coast: "this is my coast, this is my home/ from San Diego up to Nome..." Here's one video of it, from one of Call's house shows. It was all warm, wry, and welcoming.

Call and Seth Boyer, her guitarist for this tour that just ended (criss-crossing the U.S. twice, starting and ending in Portland, Oregon and getting as far northeast at Portland, Maine), performed with percussion provided, depending on the song, by her rain stick or a typewriter. Yes (he smiled), a typewriter, which Call would type on for effect. She mentioned how much she's looking forward to getting into a studio to record songs with a larger ensemble, and with even more percussion. Yay drums! Probably not Hans Zimmer-masses of drums, but more than you'd take on tour.

So that was Saturday: a nice reminder of finding and liking music, like the first time I got to see S.J. "Sooj" Tucker in a house concert.
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