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Lianne Smith At Le Poisson Rouge, Friday, June

Guess why we are sitting around waiting for Kings of Power Pop the dB's, last Friday night at Le Poisson Rouge. Give up? Because we love power pop, but later on that night we would only get fed it intermittently during the db's set, mot to mention Lianne Smith's opening set.

Yup, even with Mr. Crazy Rhythm himself in tow, Anton Fier, who was crazy not insane anyway, this more Golden Palomino than Feelies singer songwriter augmented by a cracker band, folks more than pops slides into jams, and plays spirally folk soty songs and when they work, maybe half the time here, they are pretty tremendous, and when they don't work, less than the other half, they are somewhat on the boring side.
Lianne Smith funded 70% of her Fier produced debut album, Two Sides Of The River, through Kickstarter and the album is a somewhat superior happy Woman Blues rock album: it veers between folkie solipsism and country pop melodic with rock solid songwriting skills. And it doesn't always work for me, but then why should it?
Neither does the too long set though when Lianne gets her groove on she is undeniable. "Bicycle" stops and starts and the best of the band commingle for an untoward groove thang near the end, "The Thief" is, if anything better. But "The Ballad Of Sad Endings" is inert and highly poetic but poetry is not lyric and she loses me bad in the drag.
But Lianne isn't a draggy presense, she is a charming, amused MC and she stops even her weakest songs from being run of mill singer songwriter fodder with a consistently entertaining delivery. She is impossible to dislike.
On the last song "Saturday", which Lianne compared to "Downtown" in her liner, there is no reason to even try to dislike, She swings it sweet and the vibes ride somewhere between Petula Clark and Emmylou Harris. A fitting end for a fab opening act though… no, not power pop.
Grade: B+

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