concert reviews

Feist at the Black Cat, Washington, DC, Wednesday 8 February 2006

At 16 members strong, it's hard to tell who's who in the Canadian ensemble Broken Social Scene. But judging from her sold-out Black Cat show on Wednesday night, Leslie Feist has managed to make her solo career (under the moniker Feist) stand out from the crowd.

Feist's 90-minute performance jumped styles seamlessly, from pop-jazz (the trumpet-accompanied "Gatekeeper" ) to R&B (an interpretation of the Bee Gees' "Love You Inside Out") to indie-rock (a bouncy cover of Ron Sexsmith's "Secret Heart"). Sounding like a cross between Bjork and Cat Power's Chan Marshall, Feist cooed her way through the tribal "When I Was a Young Girl" and confidently captured the melancholy of Bob Haymes's "Now at Last" (complete with a whistle solo).

Feist spent a fair amount of the set encouraging audience participation, asking the crowd to hold up lighters and leading singalongs on several songs. Introducing her final number, the sultry "Let It Die," she expressed nostalgia for "the days when romance wasn't so ironic." She brought onstage a couple from the audience to slow-dance and concocted an elaborate story of what their courtship could have been like in 1917. Her storytelling may have gone on a little bit too long, but her effort was successful, as several other couples followed their lead and danced to the mellow torch song.

-- Catherine P. Lewis

.: Originally published: The Washington Post, 11 February 2006; Page C02
.: Selected discography: Let it Die (Feist, 2005); Monarch (Feist, 1999); Broken Social Scene (Broken Social Scene, 2005). You Forgot It In People (Broken Social Scene, 2003).