Friday, July 2, 2010

Getting Swept Away By Leah Siegel

Leah Siegel is plugged in, charged up and going for gold. The sultry lady of song has of late been going through a transitional phase with her music, one which she confesses she would’ve done six years ago if she’d had the money, the time and, well, the balls.

Well now she’s got ‘em. The last thing she seems, in fact, is scared. When she throws back her head, opens her mouth and releases sounds with such abandon and passion, she seems downright indomitable.

The new stage at Rockwood Music Hall was a jungle of twisting cords, plugs and pedals when Leah and her band took over on July 1st. The set was a mix of stirring new songs and reworked Leah Siegel classics, with techno beats, reverberating guitar chords and vocal looping thrown in. The sound was intoxicating, grabbing at heartstrings while also tempting feet to tap and heads to nod all of their own volition. The songs are more complex musically now, with layer upon layer of synthesizers, percussion, guitar lines and vocal echoes by way of a secondary small microphone and a mixing board. They are still dark and melancholy, full of irony and angst, but now there’s an element of groove where once there was mostly rock and blues.

But it is still Leah’s voice that makes your jaw drop and sends shivers down your spine. Her emotional purging is practically contagious, which is what makes her music so irresistible. It’s as if everything else disappears when she opens her mouth and wails. And yet she melts right in to the cacophony around her, building on its energy, its crescendos, its power. Like one organism, the band breathing and moving together, the sounds swelling and rolling off the stage.

Don’t be surprised when it sweeps you up in it, as it inevitably will. You may never be free of Leah Siegel again, and that is a good thing.