Even though I've seen Jeremy Fisher live a few times, I had somehow never seen him play a show of his own; it was always headlining or playing with others (a la the Malahat Revue). So when I heard he was coming back through town to St James Hall -- with a fine opening act, no less -- I was determined to go.
Opening the show was Steph Macpherson for a solo set consisting mostly of songs from her forthcoming album, Bells & Whistles. Mostly it was just Steph and her guitar -- her rich voice and gorgeous folk songs -- but mid way through, she took a seat at the grad piano for the beautiful "Open Book". Throughout the set, Steph drew the audience in, giving it an intimate feeling by telling stories between songs and wearing the emotion of the lyrics on her sleeve. She also got everyone involved, singing along for the end of "Best Of Us" and clapping to the final song of the set, the upbeat and undeniably catchy "Summer Salute".
The set was short, but very sweet, and made me that much more excited for her upcoming CD release show, with a full band, next month at the Media Club
Bells & Whistles, Keeping Time, Best of Us, Open Book, Silver Platter, The Verdict, Summer Salute.
Not too long after, Jeremy Fisher hit the stage; just him, his guitar and an assortment of harmonicas. Right away, he created a very relaxed laid back atmosphere, talking and joking with the crowd and weaving stories between, and sometimes even in the middle of, songs. Even when he joked that it was a hard song, or warning us he'd screw up, he seemed absolutely comfortable on stage and made it seem effortless, with a great presence and connection with the audience.
Fisher played for just over an hour, hitting songs old and new, and also paying homage to his influences with a few covers, like when "Scar That Never Heals" segued into "Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard". He also made use of the grand piano on stage for a couple songs, "Left Behind" and later for a brand new songs called "The Bride Is Dead", which was about exactly what the title implies, and was hilarious; definitely a highlight of the set. Other favourites included the high energy "Alison", and "Laissez Faire".
Near the end of the set he took requests, playing a few fan favourites, before ending with "High School" and "Fall For Anything", joined by Marcus Takizawa on violin. He was back out for an encore, this time with Vancouver's Adrian Glynn for a couple songs, first a new song by Adrian then ending the night with "Cigarette".
Gone [John Hiatt cover], Shine A Little Light, Ain't Got Nothin' But Plenty Of Time, Scar That Never Heals -> Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard [Paul Simon cover], Left Behind, Singing on the Sidewalk, Alison, The Bride is Dead, Jolene, Lay Down (Ballad Of Rigoberto Alpizar), Just Friends, Canned Goods [Greg Brown cover], Laissez Faire, Naked Girl, High School, Fall for Anything.
(encore) [Adrian Glynn song], Cigarette.