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Little Annie, Mo Pitkin's House of Satisfaction, New York City / April 28, 2006

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Seeing a performer as honest and enthralling as Little Annie Anxiety Bandez is in and of itself a delight.  To experience her live in an intimate, supper club setting, as I did the other night,  redefines the oft-used and cliched phrase "rare treat."


Accompanied onstage by longtime collaborator and pianist Paul Wallfisch, as well as rotating musicians Joe Budenholzer (who assured me that new Backworld material was imminent) and Eric Hoffmann, the sparkle-adorned Annie ran through a strong set of material from the long-awaited, long-gestating, and, finally, now available Songs From the Coal Mine Canary, alongside reinterpreted cabaret standards.  Opener "Freddy and Me," a spoken word poem with a whimsical sung chorus, set the tone for the night, promising the small upstairs lounge her special blend of irreverent wit and torchsong devotion.  Sporting a nicotine patch visible just below the sleeve of her little black dress, she complained of her desire for a cigarette while riffing and belting out crowd-pleasers like "If A Were A Man" and "Absynthtee-Ism," the latter of which yielded yelps and applause with lines like "You can't sing the blues while drinkin' milk."

Annie filled the breaks between songs with stream-of-consciousness monologues and gracious banter, egged on by the adoring audience, on wildly diverse topics as wordy news anchors or her disturbing and unimpressive trip to Death Valley.  At one point, one particularly flamboyant fan made his way to the stage to gush at the larger than life chanteuse and present her with a bouquet of tulips, to which she replied, "I have always relied on the kindess of homosexuals."

Truly appreciative of such a reception, Annie wasted no time in returning to the stage for her scheduled encore, expressing a sincerity rarely found among artists who've been wowing audiences as long as she has.  I briefly dreamt of how it might be to see her take this fantastic act on the road with Antony & the Johnsons, its ubiquitous leader having produced the new record, before selfishly casting the idea aside.  Quite honestly, the world doesn't deserve Little Annie.  Resolutely modest as she may be, she's too good for you bums.

Last Updated on Sunday, 30 April 2006 04:48  


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