Jenny Owen Youngs and Greg Laswell Schuba’s 11-19-08

23 11 2008



I love J.O.Y. so much I can’t just do the 50 words or less treatment for her. This Brooklyn girl is a little bit harsh, and so dry with the sarcasm, she pulls moisture away from you. When she closes her eyes and sings about her battered heart though, she is soft and vulnerable. I have seen her 4 times now at Schuba’s (one of my favorite venues in Chicago.) Each time she is a little more comfortable. Chicago, seemingly, a home away from home for her. Her style is a little bit folky, a little bit rocker and that of a perpetual student of the masters, citing Nick Drake and Nelly in her set. Unlike some of her peers Jenny Owen Youngs has a label, Nettwerk. Often thought of as a dance label, they have housed the likes of Bare Naked Ladies and Sarah McLachlan. Even though she shines when she is on stage alone, backing instruments and vocals make her more confident. Brandon the sideman, accompanied her on rhythm guitar and made the song “voice on tape” ethereal and full of feeling. Greg Laswell joined them both for the subtle kick in the teeth “what the fu*^ was i thinking”. We have all been there. What makes her shows fun and worth repeating is the banter with the crowd and herself. She welcomes hecklers and bites back, which explained the large inflatable shark on keyboards for a while. Next time she is in town I will give a heads up.

Greg Laswell is the epitome of the Hotel Cafe sound. He is a gifted singer songwriter that can tickle the keys or pick the strings. He has gone to sad and back. Even though many of his tunes are about heartache and loss, his hooks are upbeat and are usually on repeat on the pod. He played songs from his most recent release “Three Flights From Alto Nido” as well as the great self made debut “Through Toledo.” Jenny Owen Youngs did a bang up job on the female vocals. Initially his banter seemed a little more canned, but it sat well with the crowd. Greg has become a staple on the Grey’s Anatomy soundtrack and they suit each other. They both are a bit quirky, deep and healing….at least up until the firing of a certain actress. Brandon the sideman again added passion and depth to the music. He is a talented workhorse.

One interesting thing these two artists share is the fact that Perez Hilton his given them shout outs on his blog. Say what you want about him, he has great taste in music.

On a night when Ingrid Michaelson, Smashing Pumpkins and M83 we all in town…Schuba’s was the only place I wanted to be.

posted by: Cooper




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