Leslie Feist should make her way to your CD player or iPod immediately. After seeing her in concert and giving her album a few spins, I can say Feist is one of the most promising female acts America has seen in the past five years. This is what American pop should be aiming for, not the vapidness of Britney or Aguilera.
Feist played solo at the Varsity Theater on July 8, 2005, and I was sitting on the side watching from one of a few beds sprinkled throughout the unique venue. She was on stage with nothing but a guitar, an amp, and a foot pedal effects box to add some interesting layering to her solo performance. It was like a Jack Johnson performance instead featuring a cool, beautiful female voice and sassy electric guitar.
Leslie had an absolutely charming on-stage presence, coyly playing and teasing with the audience throughout the night. After the first two numbers, she asked the crowd for their opinion on which microphone sounded better. When the crowd couldn't decide, she improvised and used both. She joked it could be her new mic technique, begun right in Minneapolis; it'll be seen if she starts a new trend.
More of Ms. Feist's charm and laid-back attitude shone through after playing her biggest commercial hit, 'Mushaboom.' After playing it she grabbed a group of fans from the crowd on stage, dubbed them her own personal Glee Club for the night, and had them sing a modified version of the chorus.
Previously untold knowledge about the composition of her album, "Let it Die," was also revealed at the concert. Inside & Out, a remake of an old BeeGees tune, may seem to some to be an unlikely cover for Feist's strong female vocals. Feist explained that when her producer was singing backup vocals for the album, he was giving a very meek performance which she called Barely Give. Because of this connection to the BeeGees's Barry Gibb, she and her producer decided a cover of one of their disco classics was in order.
A fun, entertaining attitude permeated the whole night, even though many of Feist's songs are very intimate, some with deeply sensuous lyrics. After the laughs between songs, Leslie got down with some dark, groovy guitar work. Coupled with her haunting, needs-no-studio-filtering voice, the live experience of listening to her is nothing short of mesmerizing.
Ms. Feist played with intensity and a great sense of herself. She was completely in control of her voice and her music. I was only familiar vaguely familiar of her before the show from her featured iTunes Music Store track "One Evening," but after her July 8th performance she's made a fan for life. She may be charming and lovely, but what's her best quality? Displaying genuine talent in radio-ready music.