Nellie McKay…

Last night, Nellie McKay performed at The Troubadour (she performs at Largo tonight), and it was reportedly quite a memorable experience:

I just got back from Nellie’s Troubadour show and was pretty blown away. She was very passionate and very frustrated with her position at Sony and how they’re handling her, getting really worked up, yelling and crying as she pleaded her case to put out the CD as she envisions it (they want to take off 7! songs and release a 45 minute CD instead of a 70 minute CD). She asked everyone to please e-mail the president of Sony ( [email protected] I believe, I haven’t tried yet). At one point a woman yelled “shut up and sing” but she was booed away and Nellie snapped back at her saying something, something “you bitch.”

It was intense, no one there to give her a hug or a tissue, she just broke down for a few minutes and I totally expected her to walk off (we were only a few songs in) but she composed herself and powered straight into a song, still crying (and ended up playing a 2 hour set). She said later that the band must be really on edge now, waiting for her to freak out again.

More after the jump.

She mentioned a few times that she’d just met the band (I take it it wasn’t her choice to have a band) and it showed a few times (some missed starts, miscommunications). The first few songs her vocals were too soft and between songs everyone started yelling to the sound guy to fix it. Nellie deviated from the setlist (sometimes her choice, other times audience “requests”) and it was awkward to see the band sifting through music sheets.

She had to wrangle the crowd early on as she explained that not all of her songs are funny and to please not laugh like everything she says is a joke (she was talking about “Columbia Is Bleeding” and asking people to go to www.columbiacruelty.org ). Later in the show she stepped out into the audience to pass out photocopies of a “Satya” magazine article that talked about the 8,000 test animals that died locked in their cages at LSU during the hurricane.

Sorry I can’t relay the set list cause I’m not good at remembering that kind of stuff (names of new songs, the order, etc). The new songs were all instantly catchy, especially the new cat song to compliment “The Dog Song.” Early she played a “duet” with herself doing a hilarious Dylan impersonation after telling the story of him not responding to her request to be on the CD. Looking at the tracklist in the other thread I recognize “I Am Nothing” and “Happy Flower” as two of the new songs she played but there were definitely more. She covered most of “Get Away From Me” but didn’t do “Waiter” despite requests cause she said it was really difficult and hard on her voice. The encore was just her and the piano and it was an instantly different atmosphere then with the band (she did a few solo during the set as well).

Overall is was a completely different concert going experience. I’m going straight to the Largo after work tomorrow in the hopes of getting into the bar (the restaurant was already booked when I found out there was a show a few weeks ago). I mean, after tonight’s show I can’t NOT go tomorrow. I hope it’s just her and a piano…or at most her and Jon Brion.

I was so worked up after the show that I was going to write the nelliemckay.net people and ask if I could help or take over their site since there was so much going on and the Nellie needs a non-Sony web presence. But right before I sent the e-mail I decided to check .org and tada! I knew there had to be another fansite out there.

Anyway if you all ever need any help with the website I’d be more then willing, and if anyone has any questions about the show I’ll try to answer. There were a lot of cameras there (I forgot the Troubadour allowed cameras so I didn’t bring mine) so hopefully some will pop up here. I’ll report back from the Largo performance tomorrow if I can get in. Ok it’s late now. Goodnight.

The fact that the label she’s fighting with is Sony BMG is rather fascinating in and of itself (for the conspiracy theorist, FreeFiona.com reported that Fiona Apple ran into problems with Sony BMG when she worked on Extraordinary Machine), not only because it shows the frustrations that can occur when signing with a major label, but also because Sony BMG has come under major fire as of late for their rootkit DRM.

UPDATE: Defamer picked up on the story.

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