Review: Kimya Dawson at Union Chapel

Very sweet show indeed! I’m glad I went. I meandered up to Union Chapel and met up with Alicia. I had box office collection and she had a physical ticket, so it was her duty to get us a good pew. We didn’t get the front pew, but we got a pew that was probably much better for photos, as I could use my zoom lens and not have to point it at a crazy angle or anything. 

Angelo Spencer, Kimya’s husband, was first. He was charming and really fun. Kimya’s daughter Panda was about, as were lots of other children, which was very sweet. The next support, Karl Blau commented on this. He was quite an interesting character. He’s a pretty prolific musician, at home I have a 7″ of his, which also features Laura Veirs. It was an amusing set, watching the one man band with pigtails and a moustache throw down some loopy ‘dance party’ songs. It was fun.

In the interlude we nommed on ice cream and I went over to chat with a friend, Rhiannon, and her brother Nicol. They were going to be playing with Kimya but they hadn’t practiced or played with her in nine months. There were good tunes on the sound system again, hooray. Sufjan, Jenny Lewis, Final Fantasy, Whispertown, Emmy the Great. Excellent.

Then Kimya took to the stage. Rhiannon and Nicol accompanied her on cello/glock/uke/egg shaker and it was awesome. Kimya kept commenting on how good they sounded, and it was true. Kimya seemed cheerful and happy to be playing. I’ve been a fan for a few years now. I have a couple of those ‘Kimya Dawson Loves Me’ tshirts back home. I don’t know if she still does them, but a couple of years ago you could paypal her some money and request a colour and she’d draw you an animal on a tshirt and write ‘Kimya Dawson Loves Me’ on it and send it to you. I was anxious to wear them though, through fear of a ketchup-tshirt fusion. I haven’t listened to her music in a long time, probably almost a year. But it was so sweet to hear these songs again. Alot of people criticize her voice and musicianship but I love it, it’s charming and completely sincere and from her heart. She did my favourite, Singing Machine, which made me particularly happy. The setlist was a mix of new and old alike. Tire Swing and Loose Lips perhaps got the biggest cheers though. Kimya told us about a 12 year old girl in the second row who had given Kimya her album, which Kimya found to be exciting and amazing. She tried to get the girl to come up on stage but she didn’t want to, in fairness you would have to be a very brave 12 year old to make an impromptu appearance onstage in front of more than a few hundred people. They played right up to the curfew. Before the closer Kimya told us a really heartbreaking and touching story about her friend who passed away a couple of weeks ago. The entire church was completely silent. Her friend had terminal cancer and 3 days to live, his last wish was for Kimya to play for him. She flew to the other side of the country and stayed with him and played him songs until he passed away. She dedicated the last song to him because it was his favourite. She played Eleventeen and it was touching and very beautiful.

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