I remember my first time with Puss ‘n’ Boots — the supergroup comprising Norah Jones, Sasha Dobson, and Catherine Popper. It was January 2010, when they were part of a Doveman and Friends show at the Mercury Lounge.
There’s no doubt about it, Norah Jones is pregnant.
They seemed like they were having a lot of fun that night, but they were crazy sloppy, stumbling, playing in different keys, and generally just seeming a little too loose. But it was nice to see Norah, especially, in one of her many side projects where she isn’t the “star,” but just a player.
As always, Puss ‘n’ Boots didn’t spare the vagina jokes, especially when Catherine Popper sat down to play in her very short dress.
I’ve seen them a couple times since then, and my impression was the same: fun but too sloppy.
I expected more of the same from the 2013 Puss ‘n’ Boots Xmas Spectacular at The Bell House in Brooklyn on Wednesday night. I almost skipped it because I wasn’t expecting a particularly good show, but figured that with their special guests it would at least be a festive diversion.
The ladies of Puss ‘n’ Boots know how to throw a holiday party.
Jenny Scheinman, right, and her Mischief & Mayhem bandmates. (Photo by Michael Gross)
Brooklyn’s own Jenny Scheinman has long been a strong side player, fiddling for lots of rock and pop heroes, from Lucinda Williams, Norah Jones, Rodney Crowell and Carla Bozulich to Bill Frisell, Vinicius Cantuaria and Ani DiFranco.
She’s straddled the divide between “popular” music (rock, folk and country) and contemporary experimental sounds.
Belle and Sebastian at The Williamsburg Waterfront: Undaunted by the threatening storm. (Photos copyright 2010, Steven P. Marsh)
UPDATE: The dancing fool in our video (scroll down)has identified himself via YouTube as “deandempseync” on YouTube. He tells Will You Miss Me: “Who’s the handsome devil on the left of the screen? ME! I’m the ‘tall one with the curly hair [who] got a bit carried away by the whole thing.’ Somehow rather proud… And [that] was a bottle of gin.”
In fact, the threat of a storm brought B&S onstage a bit earlier than scheduled in hopes of beating the rain. That turned out to be a boon for the audience, as B&S played a longer set, going right up to the venue’s 10 p.m. curfew
Teenage Fanclub played a tight and tuneful opening set.
Amazingly, with the help of a tight and lively set by fellow Scots Teenage Fanclub, B&S managed to keep the bad weather at bay (Nicole behaved herself until early the next morning) and put on a show that was nothing short of spectacular.
Aside from some terrible sartorial choices — with Sarah Martin, Stuart, and Stevie Jackson all unwittingly donning very similar black-and-white horizontal stripe shirt, causing Stevie to keep his coat on all night, Stuart’s unfortunate man-scarf — it was quite a spectacle in every respect.
B&S played plenty from the forthcoming album, Belle and Sebastian Write About Love, but didn’t beat it to death. The band focused on keeping the fans happy with a wide range of songs from its huge catalogue. And that effort paid off well.
It was satisfying to see that B&S didn’t call on any celebrity friends to make guest appearances at the show. Given that New York’s Norah Jones duets with B&S on the new album’s “Little Lou, Ugly Jack, Prophet John,” it was plausible to think she might show up. But B&S kept things strictly in the family for this show.
Stuart even invited seven fans onstage to clap and dance along with a classic number, “The Boy with the Arab Strap.” Here’s a video of that amusing interlude. Pay particular attention to the tall guy with the curly hair:
Check out a great new interview with the band by Laura Barton for The Guardian. And click through to the jump for more Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone? photos from the show.
Tickets still available for Sept. 30 Williamsburg Waterfront show
Scottish twee band Belle & Sebastian are well overdue for a new album. Fans have really missed them and have been hoping for great things from Belle and Sebastian Write about Love, due out on Oct. 12 on Matador.
Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone? has long been a big supporter of B&S. We’ve been listening to some of the tracks from Belle and Sebastian Write about Love that have been leaking on the internet.
But do they deliver what fans hunger for? Read on to find out.