Sunday, October 16, 2011

My Brightest Diamond at Littlefield

I emerged from the venue Littlefield, covered in confetti, smiling with sparkles in my eyes, and a golden pom pom in my hand. My face hurts from smiling. My Brightest Diamond & yMusic brought the house down commemorating the release of their joint-effort record "Everything Will Unwind". Their performance was the entire album in order, and my God, what an amazing work of art. The collaborative styling and mixture of such talented musicians made for an incredible live performance, one that I am happy to say I got to enjoy now, twice.

It's a special gift when you witness a group of musicians absolutely in love with the melodies they are making. As I glanced at each face on the stage (there were quite a few), I saw the same memorable expression... a slight ethereal smile, with the eyes gently closed. It was a beautiful thing to witness, such admiration amongst the musicians. I was too busy dancing in my place, lip-syncing the words excitedly, and gesticulating in time with the violins, drums, or what ever unexpected delicious sound was about to pop up to express the quiet reflection the musicians exhibited, but, I figured my enthusiasm was appreciated*. The flautist in particular stole my heart away with her passionate playing. I've never seen someone use such an unexpected instrument as a form of non-verbal expression, but in this case, I felt like she was communicating more than words could ever say. Her eyebrows furrowed with every puckered blow, then raised with every short succinct breath, the sound tittering out of that hollowed metal instrument added such a coy and playful depth to every song, I couldn't get enough of it! The flute, I've discovered is an incredibly underused instrument of human expression.

Now, let me take a moment to talk about the brightest shining diamond I've ever seen, Ms. Shara Worden. Her band was donning all black with a small sliver of shocking orange, red, and yellow felt flowers pinned discreetly on their persons, each placement varied as wildly as the instruments they played. I felt that these little pieces represented more than just their unity as a group, but also, that these musicians are a part of Shara's overall musical vision. Shara emerged demurely from the back of the stage smiling faintly and batting her eyelashes coyly. She was clad in colors of the sun this night, red-orange, yellow, and fiery balls of crinoline joyously decorated her form, then BOOM an eerie papier-mâché mask was placed upon her face, addition and subtraction symbols were slipped on her hands, and a strange ceremonial like dance was performed while the opening orchestration played. The music built up until we heard the playful, powerful, and poetic opening track to the album "We Added it Up".  

I think the first thing that hits me about Shara Worden is her unabashed approach to sound. As fragile as her form appears, her voice and the music wallop you upside the head, and demand your undivided attention, and if you're anything like me, you're glad to give it. The way the music flowed from track to track made you able to be whisked away and not even notice that you were in a crowded room (or even on earth) anymore. As well as I knew the music this night, I was still able to be positively floored by the intensity of the sound. In particular, the performance of "Be Brave" with the transition straight into "Ding Dang" hit me right in my chest. I mean this both figuratively and literally- Shara's voice belting out a lyrical demand of courage made my heart ache with inspiration. That was then paired with the deep hit of the bass drum in the middle of "Ding Dang" that actually made my sternum vibrate and had me whisper an overwhelmed "WHOA". This adoring ache continued persistently throughout the performance, and erupted just as she flew back out of the stage for an encore and played a wildly energetic version of my favorite My Brightest Diamond song, "Apples". 

The best part of this new album and this live performance from My Brightest Diamond, for me, is how distinctly individual and unique each song is. The friend I brought with me had never heard anything from My Brightest Diamond before- I don't know if you've ever gone to a show of a band you've never heard of, but, in general, when you go to a show, you go away with an idea of the music's direction and style, but because you didn't really know any of the songs, they all tended to sound similar. I knew that my buddy would walk away and be able to remember and identify each individual song, yet still understand the body of work as a unified idea. It turned out to be a completely accurate assumption. This to me is exemplary of the music created by Shara Worden and yMusic. You can't possibly forget them or their sound. You'll be walking away from their concert humming the tunes whether you're a novice to their sound or a seasoned My Brightest Diamond veteran.

I don't want you to think Shara was all business either, no, she wasn't just up there to sing and play music lovingly with her good friends... she was there to entertain. Well, entertain she did! From start to finish we got one hell of an enthusiastic performance, complete with ceaseless frenzied dancing, balloons, metallic streamer pom-poms that were thrown out to the crowd- where Shara goofily demanded us to shake them about by shouting "Let me see ya SHAKE THOSE POM-POMS!", not to mention a seemingly endless supply of confetti thrown out by the handful. By the time I left the show you would've thought I was in a parade, which essentially, I was.

We Added It Up
Reaching Through to the Other Side
In the Beginning
Ymusic instrumental
Escape Routes
Be Brave
Ymusic instrumental
She Does Not Brave the War (but She Saves the Day)
Ding Dang
There's a Rat!
Ymusic instrumental
High Low Middle
Everything is in Line (accompanied by her BFF DM Stith)
I Have Never Loved Someone

*incidentally, it was, not two seconds after the show ended, did the violinist come out and thank me for my energetic display!


  1. MadameK you are an inspiration!!!

    I had so much fun with you that night and cant stop listening to My Brightest Diamond, since!

  2. Love the write up! I saw MBD back in August in Chicago and it was just so, so great. I also have seen a couple of the yMusic folks (Rob Moose-violin, and Cj Camerieri- trumpet) playing for Bon Iver. Super nice guys. I can't wait for the day when I get to see all of these people playing on the same stage together!