Concert Review: Rachael Yamagata in Los Angeles
Rachael Yamagata performed a record-release show of sorts in Los Angeles on Tuesday (11/20) that was, at turns, elegant, devastating and lush.
Yamagata's draw is a combination of richly-textured adult pop compositions and her unique voice--a ball of honeyed, expressive honesty, a real storyteller's instrument.
She's also proven fairly prolific of late, releasing a full album "Chesapeake" in 2011, followed in 2012 with the album-length NoiseTrade Sessions Mixtape which pulled together a mix of demo-sounding session work and a handful of polished studio tracks. Yamagata then released a formal EP, "Heavyweight," (which was released digitally on the day of the El Rey show) coinciding with the current tour.
While her studio work is excellent on its own, Yamagata has an innate ability to draw a bee-line to the emotional core of her songs on stage.
Yamagata's band on Tuesday at the El Rey Theatre was made up in part by openers Ed Romanoff and Adrien Reju, at times blossoming to a 7-piece mini-orchestra. With that versatile ensemble layering all manner of stringed and keyed instruments around her vocals at times, the sonic heft of late-set entries like "Dealbreaker" and "You Won't Let Me" catapulted deep into "wow" territory. In the same context, the delicate and gorgeous "Elephants" and the stark "Duet" proved showstoppers for letting powerful lyrics and that voice take over the room.
The only palpable misstep across the tight set was a cover of 10 CC's "I'm Not In Love" that never really jelled, but Yamagata has earned the leeway to keep trying just about anything she wants, because as evidenced by the rest of the show (and past area shows), most of her experiments land in pretty impressive territory.
What If I Leave
Has It Happened Yet
Worn Me Down
I'm Not In Love
Be Be Your Love
You Won't Let Me
24 - Denver, CO - Larimer Lounge
26 - Minneapolis, MN - Varsity Theatre
27 - Chicago, IL - City Winery
28 - Indianapolis, IN - Radio Radio
30 - Pittsburgh, PA - Mr. Smalls Theatre
1 - Toronto, ONT - Virgin Mobile Mod Club
3 - Montreal, QUE - La Sala Rossa
4 - Boston, MA - Paradise Rock Club
5 - New York, NY - Joe's Pub
7 - Philadelphia, PA - First Unitarian Church Sanctuary
8 - Easton, MD - The Night Cat
9 - Washington, DC - U Street Music Hall
10 - Chapel Hill, NC - Local 506
12 - Atlanta, GA - Vinyl
13 - South Birmingham, AL - The Bottletree
14 - Nashville, TN - 3rd and Lindsley