Kristin Hersh, McCabe's Guitar Shop, Los Angeles, 4/11/98
OK. I'm expecting at least one response back which says 'I told you so'. I wish that I had gone to this show a little more knowledgeable about Hersh and her music, but the real reason I went was because I'd always wanted to see a show at McCabe's Guitar Shop, where R.E.M. did a great acousic show way back in 1987 (which was finally released through legitimate sources this year). If I were a nasty, selfish person, I would keep this place secret and not tell anyone else about it - but I play nice, so I'll let you let you in on the secret - this place is now in my top 2 favorite venues in LA (along with the Troubadour). McCabe's really is a guitar shop, with all manner of stringed instruments (entirely of the acoustic variety, unless I didn't happen to spy the electric nooks and crannies) covering the walls. However, there's a little secret door leading to a small, dark cavern-like room in the back of the store with seats for about 150 people. That's where the magic happens.
So there we all were, 150 of us, sitting and listening to Hersh (ex-lead singer of the now defunct Throwing Muses), strum and pick away at her acoustic guitar. And that's where the magic took over - if you asked me what any of her songs were about, I couldn't have told you, just letting myself be washed over by her beautiful melancholy sound. Hersh herself was quite charming, telling little 'behind the scenes' stories about some of her songs (I'd relate the one about the mouse, the toaster, and the hairspray, but I can't spoil all the secrets) - "So I was going to let my son name my most recent album, but when he came up with 'The stupid man tastes good', I had change my mind because then the smart man would feel all bad because he doesn't taste good." Incidently, she named the album "Strange Angels" - I sought it out the following day, to find out what that magic was all about. I'm glad I did. 10 times through the repeat button and it's still beautiful. It's that good.
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