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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Live review: Brandi Carlile and Andy Hull at the Rialto, 8/19

    Courtesy+of+Frank+Ockenfels
    Courtesy of Frank Ockenfels

    It has been monsoon mayhem in Tucson lately, and this past Sunday night was no exception. I took refuge inside The Rialto Theatre and listened to Andy Hull of Right Away, Great Captain! and Brandi Carlile while catching lightning flashes from the corner of my eye through the intermittent side-door openings. It was hard to say if it was the weather or the anticipation for Carlile that caused the crowd’s restlessness during Hull’s set.

    It was an interesting mix of fans: men with infants strapped to their bodies, middle schoolers with braces, endearing elderly couples and middle-aged women with their five-year-olds. By the end of Hull’s first song, the standing room and balcony were full of sweaty-cheeked patrons. However, it wasn’t the generally taciturn, bearded solo artist who drew the odd crowd, but Carlile, the ex-doowop girl of an Elvis impersonator.

    Hull was brooding and serious, his face constantly expressing his full devotion to the music. Despite his tendency to be curt with fans when they yell out, Hull is the kind of artist you can’t help but respect. His voice is raw and natural, yet completely on target. He ended his last tour performance with Carlile in an extremely humble and gracious manner. I left wanting to see more of Manchester Orchestra, however, and not RAGC. While his acoustic versions of Manchester’s “Simple Math” were surprising and beautiful, Hull didn’t do much to support RAGC’s just-released “The Church of the Good Thief.”

    Carlile’s long, powerful set was phenomenal. The chick is cool, and gorgeous at that. The lighting and small fan near the mic made her look nothing less than angelic, even as she jumped around and shook her hair loose. She worked the edge of the stage constantly, always trying to be close to her fans, who were far beyond excited (I’m pretty certain several forty-year-old men cried somewhere in the crowd). She goes above and beyond for her fans in other senses as well. In fact, Carlile makes it a point to support grassroots programs in every town that she performs in — for Tucson, she chose the Southern Arizona Center Against Sexual Assault.

    In Carlile’s opening song, the bass drum tore through your body and set the high-energy tone for the rest of her set.

    At one point, Carlile’s band of six unplugged and crowded to the front of the stage. If you’ve ever heard Carlile, even recorded, you know she has a monster of a voice, and she can hit some truly operatic notes. Over the singing crowd I could still hear her rich timbre. It’s hard not to fill up with her voice and incredible energy, so when Carlile says to clap, you clap hard and stomp your feet. She seemed to manage eye contact with every individual and her whole face, not just her lips, was smiling.

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