The restraint was admirable, the mark of a true show womyn. She wanted to go for it, you could tell. Right from the start, a stiff rendition of âElectric Bandâ that couldâve used a little razzle and/or dazzle.
A confluence of events might have brought her out hard: playing Portland, her adopted hometown, the second of two sold-out shows, celebrating the release of the bandâs debut album, at a venue where she filmed a videoâ¦ But she hung back. She teased. Little half spins and looping forearms throughout âShort Versionâ and âFuture Crimes.â
Somewhere in thereâI was too absorbed in the mysterious strain on the face of her co-singer/guitarist Mary Timony to know for sureâshe loosed the arm and let it fly. I suspect it was during the jammed out version of âGlass Tambourine,â the b-side from the bandâs first single, a song smudged up with the fingerprints of producer Britt Daniel, the Spoon singer.
Iâm sure that first full windmill was a great moment. I was just too busy trying to figure out if Timony was, in fact, agitated about something, or if sheâs just one of those singers who looks a bit pained performing. It was the former, Iâm fairly certain, as at one point she got a little passive aggressive about the band not pausing for her to tune her guitar as called for on the setlist. âSome of us read,â she joked. Feet shuffled uncomfortably, eyes looked groundward.
Everything coalesced, then craftily dissolved, in "Racehorse" the sort of not altogether unpleasant but still kinda blah filler youâve got to expect from a headlining act made up of veterans whoâve got only one album to draw from and more than an hour to fill. The lyrics tell the story: âYeah I'm a racehorse/Yeah I'm a racehorseâ¦ Pony up, pony up/Pony up, pony up/Pony up, pony up/And ride, and ride, and ride, rideâ¦â
Wild Flagâs course on the encore, capped by a cover of Televisionâs âI See No Evil,â was far better. Even Timony seemed to be having some fun.
And the arms, they flailed.