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This is Torrini’s first North American tour and Montréal is her first date. OOOOOO we’re her firsts!!! Yippeee!!!! Artists from Iceland can do no wrong. I’ve tried to prove otherwise. I have since given up.

Who is this opener, Anya Marina? For once I go to an opener and I am so so pleased. A cute, blonde, and sassy Russian from Los Angeles whose voice feeds you into the euphoria that only blue cloudless skies atop of soft green grass and a nap can give. I would have been happy to have seen just her that night for the ticket ($20). Truly. Truly. But I get Emiliana too?!?!?

A truly glorious bill. Ah, finally. I am going to recap this wonderful show. After the jump!

Live in Show: Emliana Torrini with Anya Marina
@ Cabaret de Musée Juste Pour Rire; 13 08 09

atm-anya marina

I finally go to an opener because I figured the opener for Emiliana Torrini is going to be very solid. Anya Marina was very solid indeed. Here comes on this quite and humble solo artist in her black blazer, short black shorts, black tights, and golden chains of feathers in her bright blonde hair. She looks as if she was part of a sophisticated circus act, all that was missing was her top hat and and a baton with which her fingers would twirl perfectly. You could tell her garments have been worn, like really worn. And so she says when she apologizes in advance for smells that may emanate from her body, having not worn new garments on her tour since January.

She starts singing without a word to the audience. Her voice is angelic, with a high pitch reminiscent of Elly Jackson of La Roux, and she delivers her lyrics with such a sultry attitude that you’d think she was from the Motown era with her intense seductress stare and the soft cracks in her voice that make your heart skip a beat.

She sings and she talks. But mostly, she talks. And we loved this. Her demeanor is infectious as she describes how Russian girls have 17 nicknames, how her mother addresses her by all these nickname, how Kazakhstan is actually became an actual country after Borat came out (because no one knew it actually existed), and many other personal anecdotes. I think my favorite one was when she was telling us she was stuck at the border all day that night, why?

Officer: What did you bring over?
Anya: Uh, 30 CDs?
Officer: Come with me.

Ha! All for 30 CDs! She said she should have brought over drugs for us or sumfin…2.5 hours of being searched just for 30 CDs. Lame indeed.

She plays “Miss Halfway”, best known for being played on Grey’s Anatomy. She plays “Clean and Sober”, off her first album Miss Halfway, which was fantastic because she tells us the story of how it came about when the one of your affection says, “Take care”. Fuck you! She says, she knows what “Take care” translates too (I hope this is the right story with the right song). Aaaah she is so brilliant. So sassy. So genuinely and unintentionally funny it’s hard not to love her from the get go. Marina surprises us all when she covers T.I.’s “Whatever You Like”. She turns it into a masterpiece really. Slow jamming. Sexy. And when performed live, very sarcastic. I love T.I.’s version but her version…uuuugh! Amazing. She closes the show with, “All the Same to Me”, a song off her her new album Slow and Steady Seduction: Phase II, an album title which was made especially long just to peeve o
ff her label. Ha!

No band, just her, her ipod playing some loops, her guitar, and her black ankle heels that did the stomping. She is incredible live. And her studio albums do her absolutely NO justice. Please, see some of her shows on her remaining tour dates which can be found on her myspace! You will not regret it. =)

MP3: Anya Marina – Miss Halfway

MP3: Anya Marina – Whatever you like (T.I. cover)

Please purchase Anya Marina’s works here!

atm-emiliana torrini

No words can actually describe how beautiful this woman is. Truly. Truly. Truly. She comes out with her wavy brown hair pulled up to one side by black feathers attached to black beads. She wears the most simply dress, and at every corner, at the arms, at the torso, she has a feather hanging down from it. She is ethereal in every way. And that face! That face!!! Without having said a word the crowd was already in awe of her presence, not only because of her astonishing natural beauty, but also her aura of geniality, wholeheartedness, and that bright smile of hers. Damn, I think I am in love. Are you too? Get in line…all the way back!

I love her Icelandic accent. I love how she explains each songs origin with vibrant facial expressions and hand waving and how each of them involves at least a whiskey. She is a tank. She probably has written each song drunk jajajaja as she so implies. “We were in a forest drinking whiskey…”, this, and another signal to the stage guy to get another Stella as she gulps down the last bits of her first beer. Emiliana Torrini is real. For real. Down to earth and unafraid to admit she likes to party, to drink, to fall in love, to fall out of love, and to play.

I think a moment that will stick with me is her introduction to “Big Jumps”. She describes happiness, and how it takes extreme bravery to be truly happy. I never thought about happiness as requiring this before…but I see what she means…and in a lot of ways…it’s very true.

Her voice is even better than the studio album. And that is saying a lot because her LPs are immaculate. They really are. She sings each song with perfection, the perfect coos and cracks, pitches and dulls. Her movements are ecstatic, wild, and she bumps her stretched arms to her sides and stabs the floor with her brown boots as she feels the music molecularly, intimately, and completely. I just couldn’t help being in awe. At some parts, I just didn’t even dance or move, I just stared as she put me in a trance, a trance she was likely in. I remember I felt this way especially during “Lifesaver”. I teared up. I think the strongest performance was “Gun”, one of the most intense songs off of Me and Armini that has a five minute plot build up accompanied by intensies that all amalgamate in the end into this pool of absolved craziness. Fantastic.

The best part of the show was the encore. She cracked up so much during one song “Sea People”, that it had to be stopped. Here’s the story:

One of her guitarists was brand new. He had to learn all the songs in an itty bitty amount of time, or as Torrini showed us, the amount shown by your index finger and thumb touching together…that itty bitty. So he kept trying the chords, and was getting it wrong, and the whole band hummed and practised with him, the crowd even got into it, helping him remember what went where. Finally! The song started and with smiles on their faces we began. But then Emiliana was cracking up! She couldn’t sing! So the song stopped…and after calming down a bit, they went again! Though it wasn’t apparent to us, she was holding in all those giggles and they surfaced halfway through the song hahahahahaha oh fuck it, we can’t do it we can’t do it. Hilarious. Don’t worry guitar man! We’re not mad at you…=)

It was such a great show. She played for two hours. And I scored the setlist sheet. Horrrah! After the show, my friend and I couldn’t stop saying how good it was in a melancholic silent kind of way. We were still in Awe.

I feel the same now that I am reliving that night over 3 nights ago…so I’m sorry if this isn’t my standard WOOOOOOOOOOHOOOO AWEEEEEEEEEEEEEEESOMENESSSSSS !!! t$%^#&^*&*&*$$$%%%%%% POST! I am so quiet now…relistening to “Lifesaver”…

She is wonderful and one of the most lovely and talented human beings on this Earth.


Today Has Been OK
Sunny Road
Hold Heart
Nothing Brings Me Down
Big Jumps
To Be Free
Tuna Fish
Summer Breeze
Me and Armini
Jungle Drum
Heard It All Before

Fisherman’s Woman/Sea People
Beggars Prayer

MP3: Emiliana Torrini – Gun

MP3: Emiliana Torrini – Lifesaver

Buy her works here!

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