Jane KimLaura Stevenson and the Cans – 11/8/13 – Brighton Music Hall Nitesh Gupta November 18, 2013 Concert Reviews, Featured, Reviews I still remember the first song I heard by Laura Stevenson and the Cans two years ago. It was “Nervous Rex.” And it’s still one of my favorites. Laura Stevenson sang with a trembling, childish and hauntingly beautiful voice. Her words were soft and gentle, like the sounds emanating from the acoustic guitar she played. “Nervous Rex” was actually from her first album, “A Record,” back in 2008. And every other song on it, except for the heavier rock song Landslide/The Dig — though quite good — had a similar feel: soft, nervous, almost restrained. At the concert, save the nervous introductions before her songs — “Sometimes I freak out, I don’t know why, something in the air, maybe something in the Boston air” — Laura Stevenson was anything but restrained. She yelled into the mic continuously, somehow without straining her voice, matching the pitch of the sweet, distorted grunge-like guitar sounds. No jokes, there was even some headbanging in the crowd. The concert did not the have any of the quiet, laid-back, downtempo music I had expected. Others echoed my observation. When Laura casually said, “Now we’re going to slow things down a bit,” she was met with a loud “Finally!” and many cheers. She smiled. But luckily she didn’t make things quieter, because although I wasn’t expecting the long, instrumental interludes, the guitar solos, or all the extra instrumentation, the band pulled it off. Halfway through the concert, Laura asked the crowd, “Do you guys want to hear ‘A Shine to It’ or ‘Telluride’?” People yelled upon the mention of “A Shine to It,” one of the group’s most popular songs. “You want to hear ‘A Shine to It?’” she asks. “Fine we’ll play that.” But after a quick look at all her band members she said, “Nevermind, we’re sick of that song,” and they play “Telluride.” The two songs are almost opposites. “A Shine to It,” one of her most popular songs, features Laura Stevenson’s soft, wavering voice along with the soft sounds of a lightly-plucked acoustic guitar that paradoxically fill up an entire room. “Telluride,” off her newest album, is like a long, drawn out crescendo. As the song goes on, her voice, the chords on the guitars and the cymbal crashes all get louder and more accented. In her final song — I couldn’t catch the title, but it was a “soulful song,” as the singer herself insisted — Laura Stevenson held a note for a few long seconds, slowly coming closer to the mic until she could hold the note no longer. The electric guitarist continued right where she left off, matching her voice in pitch and finishing her story with his guitar solo. Did Laura Stevenson’s decision to play her heavier song “Telluride” against the will of her fans mark a new shift in her music? Maybe in her live music. Her newest solo album, “Wheel,” released just a few months ago, includes the new louder, vaguely punk-like Laura Stevenson. But it mostly consists of the quirky, reserved Laura Stevenson we always knew but didn’t hear at the show. Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window) Leave a Reply Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.