When I heard Marissa Nadler and Timber Timbre were coming to the Swedish American Hall, I was pretty satisfied with their venue of choice. I could only think of one other San Francisco venue that would come close to being the perfect setting other than the Swedish American Hall, which would be the Great American Music Hall. But once Marissa drifted into her sweet lullabies and haunting melodies, it was clear that there was no other venue that could have captured her timid nature and echoing siren better than this venue.
She ended up opening with a few from 2009’s Little Hells but a majority of her setlist was dedicated to her fifth and upcoming self titled release. While the new songs are with a full band and are way more upbeat and spiritual than any of her older material, each song still floated around the venue with folkish grace and noticeable vulnerability. Even her covers of Bruce Springsteen’s I’m on Fire and Townes Van Zandt’s Colorado Girl were laced with her spooky style.
The magic of her set was complete with her awkward yet adorably charming mid-song banter. Marissa gave back story on each song as she tuned each guitar (and apologizing for tuning each guitar) and explained how each of her songs seem to be about domination from a manipulative man. Her apprehensive stance disappeared once she started singing though. Marissa commanded the stage and made it her own, as if she was destined to be there. When she was finished, the applause from the crowd raged on long after she exited the stage. I think it’s safe to assume she made quite a few new fans that night.
Closing the show was creepy Canadian folk group, Timber Timbre (which I hear, “Timmy Timmy!” in my head. This also gives you an idea what my level of maturity is). Anyway, the trio entered the stage with only 3 dimly lit red lights illuminating their stage position. This well represented the dark and swampy sound that would emerge from this unique and disturbing band.
The band played a majority of their recently released Creep On Creepin’ On and it seemed like they were going to play the whole album in track order. However, about mid-set the band played Demon Host and Until The Night Is Over from their self titled album of 2009 and even closed with There is a Cure from their 2007 album, Medicinals. This was pretty unexpected considering the band had gotten so much positive press from their recent album and seemed comfortable with the flow that they were already on.
It was pretty surreal to hear Bad Ritual, Obelisk, and Creep On Creepin’ On at the Swedish American Hall. Timber Timbre’s sound is already fairly cinematic and chilling, so add that to the cavernous and almost church-like structure of the venue, you get a full on unearthly experience that any fan of the band can salivate over. Lead singer Taylor Kirk was properly hidden behind his bass drum while strumming his guitar and crooning to a calm and interested audience. While I did get a vibe that people were getting a bit bored (half the audience left at the encore), I believe that if one was to experience Timber Timbre in the perfect setting, this was the night to do it.