Taking a cue from my own weekend picks, I went to the Hi-Dive Saturday night to catch Elin Palmer’s CD release concert. I was in the mood for something different, and that’s what I got.
Palmer is Sweden-born and Denver-raised, a prolific local musician who has recorded and traveled as a background violinist with artists such as The Fray, DeVotchKa and M.Ward. She’s now branching out with her own blend of indie music infused with traditional folk music from her Swedish roots.
First up at 10:00 PM was local artist, Andrea Ball, whose 30-minute set began on a weak footing but gained momentum toward the end–meaning I wished she had done her last song first. (I became a fan, nonetheless.)
Next was Norwegian Sissy Wish (the only non-local act present), who showed up late because of the “damn GPS” and caused a half-hour delay between the first and second acts. Her electronica set trended the opposite direction of Ball, beginning strong and losing traction–meaning I wish she had stopped after three songs. At least her set was interesting to watch; Wish wore a vest made of old cassette tapes (remember those?), and her instrumentation was basically a flat table filled with wires and devices that looked like a mad scientist’s lab.
Elin Palmer took the stage with her band around midnight, playing a nyckelharpa (a rare Swedish folk stringed instrument), and switching to accordian and guitar as the evening progressed. Accompanied by varying arrangements that included bass, cello, violin, keyboard and drums, her skill and range as a musician was obvious. Every song contained unique musical textures, creative arrangements, and smooth harmonies. She even sang a song in Swedish, and closed the show with a quirky cover of Buddy Holley’s “Everyday.”
Regrettably, Palmer’s set lasted only about 30 minutes–possibly because a cello had been damaged earlier in the day, which might have resulted in some songs being cut from the list. Also, at times Palmer seemed a bit uncomfortable and distracted at times–perhaps a result of the mishaps of the evening, or possibly that she is still finding her feet as a solo artist. Hard to tell for sure when it’s the first time you’ve seen her perform. Even with these negatives, the music was enjoyable–definitely something you don’t hear everyday.
This was my first encounter with Elin Palmer’s music, but it’s apparent she is well-connected and well-liked; she had a good turnout of enthusiastic fans. She is an artist worth watching, and her record is worth a listen. If she can fill the shoes of a solo artist, she has both the talent and potential to go far.
OOMPH Scale: 7.0