Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Tift Merritt at Union Hall 1/11/08

How do you define star quality? It's different for every great performer, but as Friday night at Union Hall proved, when you're barely bigger than your guitar and you can still command the stage like a six-foot-tall Amazon, you can light up the sky like a comet.

You know how at a lot of trendy concerts, there's the group of people in the back of the hall who just stand there talking to each other because they came for the event rather than the music? Not this show, folks. I've seen less reverence at an Easter vigil. This audience wanted to be there, and I think even Ms. Merritt was surprised. Now and then this goofy grin crossed her face, like she was saying to herself, "Wow, this is as good as playing in North Carolina."

"I've never seen anyone attack an acoustic like that," my friend Mark said afterwards, and I had to agree. It's a wonder Tift's still got three joints on her right hand. And she doesn't just stand there and strum away either; she swoops back, raises the guitar like a rifle, and shoots the chords off a telephone pole half a mile away.

She's playing the Mercury Lounge on March 19th. As she said during the show, "Next time you see me I'll have a bunch of boys with me."

I'll be one of 'em.

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