Singer-songwriter takes over Jorgensen
Spektor entices audiences with soulful music and reflection on her Russian heritage
Published: Monday, October 8, 2012
Updated: Monday, October 8, 2012 00:10
“If you were a student here when we were last here, you’d be what we call a super senior” said singer-songwriter Regina Spektor, Saturday night on the Jorgensen stage. The Russian-born singer-songwriter had no problem selling out the hall for her show, which was brimming with enthusiasm and turnout of all ages. Spektor’s music, often categorized as anti-folk or indie pop, is exactly what one would expect of her upbringing. Having been exposed to both classical Russian music like Vladimir Vysotsky and Bulat Okudzhava and rock-and-roll like The Beatles and Queen at an early age, Regina’s sound has a folk-like theme with multicultural influences that seem to mock mainstream music.
The show opened with Regina’s husband and front man of the now-defunct Moldy Peaches, Jack Dishel.
Dishel played a stripped-down set of seven songs, all of which were accompanied by pre-recorded music and sound effects to back his acoustic guitar. Dishel returned towards the end of Regina’s set for a duet they had co-written, entitled “Call them Brothers.” Dishel, who goes by the name “Only Son” in his solo career, met with fans in the lobby after the concert. A very relaxed, down-to-earth musician, Dishel noted that he had no idea what sports the Huskies played: “hockey?”
Regina herself began with a soulful a capella song, “Ain’t No Cover,” rapping on the mic while she gave the audience an appetizer of songs to come. As she settled herself at the grand piano, Spektor apologized to the performing arts students that she had met backstage who had had to miss the concert to put on “O Beautiful” that night. She continued on to playful, upbeat tracks such as “Don’t Leave Me (Ne Me Quitter Pas)” and returned to more soulful tracks like “The Prayer,” which she sang in Russian. Since many of Spektor’s lyrics aren’t autobiographical, she had no problem playing various contrasting characters throughout the concert; The pianist was able to make the crowd laugh with her playful beatboxing in “All the Rowboats” – and then cry just a few minutes later with “Blue Lips,” in which she notes that “blue lips, blue veins” are both human and yet imply completely different states of life.
Patrick Belanger, a 1st-semester computer science major, attended with his girlfriend Melissa Jensen from Eastern Connecticut University. A fan of Regina for years, he commented that her “very eclectic, unique style” has kept him coming back. “She’s quirky... she does a lot of interesting music, and the mainstream wants synth.” After a solid 20-song set, Regina returned to the standing crowd for four additional tracks, including a sing-along to the popular single, “Fidelity.”
Sisters Kelly and Meghan McDarby, students of Applied Economics & Management and Human Developments, respectively, drove six hours from Cornell to see Ms. Spektor, having missed her performance in Philadelphia last spring. “Her lyrics are pensive and highly reflective”, Kelly commented seconds before a song. “Samson” proved a perfect end to the encore performance, as Spektor mused “Beneath the sheets of paper lies my truth I have to go, I have to go.”