Katell Keineg in Vancouver (repost)

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Bob Basil

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Jul 31, 1997, 3:00:00 AM7/31/97
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Katell Keineg just put on a sublime performance at the Railway Club in
Vancouver, British Columbia, last week. I think she is getting ready
for an entire
tour of North America, including three upcoming performances on the
second stage at Lilith Fair. It is probably both unfair and invidious
to compare her to others, but I fancifully imagine that seeing her for
the first
time might be similar, in terms of freshness and impact, to seeing Liz
Phair playing with Led Zeppelin for the first time.

The Railway Club is a little, fresh place in downtown Vancouver. KD
Laing made her westcoast start here. A friendly place, full of
geologists and artists, basically. I cannot imagine that she will be
playing in such intimate venues for much longer.

She has four people backing her in her band -- bass, drums, lead guitar,
synth; K. plays both rhythm and lead guitar.

Katell Keineg came onstage as tho she were a roadie -- wearing a tank
top and basicblack bellbottoms and black-stockinged feet, next to which
was a glass of white wine. She started singing as tho she were warming
up the mike -- but then everybody stopped breathing, when she started to
sing.

Only four or five singers have stopped me dead in my tracks, as they say
-- Sarah
Vaughan, Alison Krauss, included -- and Ms. Keineg certainly did when I
first picked up her CD for perusal. It is hard to describe why, except:

She has *command*, new songs, and a winsomeness.

Among the songs she sang were: Battle of Trees, Smile, Conquistador,
Veni Vedi Veci, and There You Go.

I did wish that there were people up dancing to Smile.

Her live rendition of Conquistador removed, for me, some crankly aspects
to the CD version of that song. She put down her guitar and just stood
straight up. She has very long, white arms, and just then, when she
started to sing, she seemed like the strongest person in Vancouver. She
held her arms at her side and sang into the mike: "maybe I can conquer
your will . . ." The effect was shattering.

One of her encores was "Mother's Map": Which reminds of me of Led Zep's
third and fifth albums, but nothing in the doings of Plant/Page hit me
like Katell Keineg's single hands-by-one's-side feminine scream.

We were all astonished into silence. But we screamed her back for an
encore, an odd jazz/Motown thing they must have been practicing . . .

Keineg's last song was "There You Go" -- sung with a kind of delicious
plaintiveness. It was just gorgeous.

Bob
ba...@ihermes.com

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