‘July’ highlights soulful evening


by Ryo Miyauchi

Before her brief break on tour, folk musician Marissa Nadler performed with her band at Soda Bar on Sunday, Feb. 23, playing songs from her new album, “July.” After listening to “July” for some time, it was an experience to watch Nadler play the new album more in tune to a live setting.

As she began her set, Nadler let the sound of her guitar draw audiences closer to the stage. The guitar sounded quite dreamy as it does on record. She sang alone at first, but soon her bandmates joined to play cello and viola for the rest of the set.

For the second song, the band played her current single “Dead City Emily.” When performed live, the cello and viola played a much stronger role in the song than what is heard on the album. The cello brought out the deep, heavy bass buried underneath the track, while the viola grew the song into something much bigger. All of the musicians involved made the performance a true band effort.

The escapist aspect of Nadler’s music came alive throughout her performance. Her breezy vocals of Nadler and distant-sounding guitars in “1923” transported listeners to a different time and place. Following through her detailed lyrics was also a delight. When she sang about traveling in “Drive,” Nadler brought the audience with her in spirit.

Nadler and her band saved the song “Was It a Dream” toward the end. The tune featured a heavy guitar sound that set it apart from the rest of the set list. Heavy as it sounded, the guitars didn’t overshadow Nadler’s soft voice delivering the titular chorus as chillingly as it sounds on record.

The final song of the night was “I’ve Got Your Name,” a short acoustic ballad. Nadler’s lyrics were the star through her final stretch.

“Changed in a rest stop into my dress,” Nadler san. “Be sure not to touch the floor.” She then sang about driving on the freeway and doing her eye makeup as she entered New York. “I’ve Got Your Name” was not the loudest song of the night, but it spoke volumes. The song revealed Nadler’s ability to take listeners on her travels to feel the effects of distance. “I’ve Got Your Name” only lasted about two minutes. For that little while, Nadler took Soda Bar attendees with her on route to New York, missing the one that got away.

Also read: Lost in the dreamy folk of Marissa Nadler

Photo by Chelsea Massey, staff photographer