Sarah Blacker at Summervale August 9, 2012 and the Skinny Pancake August 10, 2012   Leave a comment

Woo hoo, Sarah Blacker was coming back to town. I read about all of her travels across the north-eastern US (and beyond), but love it most when she comes back to Burlington. She was set to play the Summervale weekly festival on Thursday August 9th in Burlington’s Intervale, then Red Square and the Skinny Pancake on Friday August 10th. My schedule for Friday made the Square show impossible, but made the other two pretty easy.

On Thursday afternoon, I wandered the familiar path to the Intervale. There were a few people milling about and a few food vendors. I patiently impatiently waited, and soon enough Sarah Blacker and Eran Shaysh headed into the barn to set up. They worked with Joe Adler for a bit to get the sound right, and off they went. She opened solo with a gorgeous version of Sandpiper then brought Shaysh up to play percussion for the rest of the set. Several people came into the barn to listen, and a few songs in, even the little kids were dancing. Sarah and Shaysh plowed through a beautiful set of songs highlighting the new Perfectly Imperfect ep, and her most recent album, Come What May. Knocked the Winds had a nice sweep to it, and really turned up the energy. I was really hoping for When I Was New, and she played it third. I just love how catchy that song is. Coyboy was lots of fun and Shoeshine had a lot more going on by the end than it seemed it might at the start. She played a Joni Mitchell song that I did not know, but loved hearing Sarah unleash her voice. Leo the ukelele came out for The Most Beautiful Thing and the wonderful Perfectly Imperfect. The guitar came back for a rousing Bad I Been then closed the night with a powerhouse These Summer Nights. What a great song. What a great set. All I had to do was walk down the street and see her play. I feel like I put in so little effort and was rewarded heavily. I love live music.

I did not stay long after the show. While I was looking at the stage, the Summervale Festival crowd arrived, and there were tons of families everywhere. I bought the new ep, chatted a bit, then headed home. Rich and Chris stopped by and we played lots of rock videos all night long. At the end, I was still thinking of Sarahs songs.

I worked Friday until 7, went home and ate a quick bite of dinner, then headed out to the show. I made it to the Skinny Pancake in good time, went in, got a beer, and soon enough they were set up and ready to play again. The room was full of diners, so the opener Knocked the Winds did not blow the place away, as it would have if everyone was paying close attention. She kept the set a bit slow and built it step by step until people just had to pay attention. Just when things were starting to pop, a rowdy bunch of festival goers came in. They talked a lot and soon she realized she needed to change the energy. She said something about Marshall Tucker then began playing Can’t You See. Soon the whole audience was singing along. As she moved back into her set, the rowdy crowd began to chat, and wonderful songs were talked over. At one point she asked the audience if they could quiet down a bit since her throat was sore, and she wanted to sing I’m Like A Train My Lord. They chatted through it anyway. I was pretty focused and did not let it bother me, but it would have been cooler if everyone was listening. She played most all of the songs she played in the barn, plus lots more. She played a couple of new songs. She played a version of Smitten that made me think she should try and cover the Genesis song Entangled sometime. We got to hear most of Come What May, including the elegant title song, and she was set to wrap the night with the two ukelele tunes from the new ep. The Most Beautiful Thing and Perfectly Imperfect were great to hear, but another group of Maritime festivalers came in and broke the spell. She switched gears and put the guitar on for an up tempo rocker, then closed the night, like she did the night before, with a blistering These Summer Nights. What a great set closer. The show was somewhat satisfyingly unsatisfying. She brilliantly played a whole bunch of great songs. The interplay between her and Shaysh was perfect both nights. She just did not have the audience that she deserved. That said, you’ve got to love the staggering effort she is putting into finding it. Maybe someday I’ll have to pay more money to see her in a sit down theater with a wrapt audience. Here’s hoping! Until then, I will go see her wherever I can.


Here’s a video of These Summer Nights.  It’s not from either show, but will give you an idea…




Posted August 22, 2012 by tmusicfan in Rock Shows

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