Wednesday, December 5th, I walked into the Bootleg Theatre and was immediately transported into a space filled with accessible emotion and bits of nostalgia filled paradise. Around 10:50 pm Laura Gibson took the stage with her band and played the first song of both the night and her new album Goners, "I Carry Water".
One of the first things I noticed about Laura's performance was her use of a loop pedal. Before starting many of her songs she would take a moment to record ambient piano sounds or breathy background vocals that would loop in the background throughout the song. Another notable quality was that her band switched between different instruments over the course of the night. For example, the drummer was also playing on a keyboard/synthesizer and her violinist was also a backup singer. It made the orchestration of each song come to life in a way that was really special.
A common theme through both the show and the album is the concept of being tender with someone and what people are willing to go through to achieve that. "Tenderness" was played about halfway through the set and as I swayed to the beat of the song I realized that it was detailing sacrificing pieces of yourself in return for this idea of what love should be. "Domestication", the second song performed, had a direct parallel to "Tenderness". The lyrics of "Domestication" tell a story of a lonely, wild woman who finds someone who called her hunger tenderness, while the last verse of "Tenderness" tells the end of a story about a woman leaving town and becoming dark and hungry.
The title track "Goners" was the fourth song of the night and posed contradicting feelings and lyrics. The tone of the song made me feel optimistic, but when listening to the lyrics it created a much darker vibe. Laura played the keyboard during this song which affected the sound that had been building up to that point. It tied everything together effortlessly. A few songs later she told the audience about how she was driving down from Portland for this show and started to remember a lot of her past while driving through California. She then told a funny anecdote about how she was staying in a hotel that doubled as a college dorm and the people coming in and out thought she was a student which made her feel good.
Laura and her band played through the entirety of Goners and she then performed a few songs solo, creating an even more intimate vibe. The night was filled with soul touching music that made me truly feel, which music is meant to do, but does not always achieve. She explained how she hates encores so she finished out her set without ever leaving the stage, leaving it on somber, but beautiful note.
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