Tier 3

music / / poetry / / philosophy / / -ology by Nick Courtright

Concert Review: Final Fantasy


Multi-tasking like a fiend, Owen Pallett attempted a true-to-life rendition of his many-layered recorded material all by his lonesome, and the reward was a show that started slow but ended spectacularly. Without the aid of the dozen-plus hands (his own many times over, as well as those of others) that help in the studio, songs from Final Fantasy’s two LPs became tangled messes wherein Pallett frantically tried to do the songs justice without trimming them down for solo performance. The effect was a compromise of Pallett’s pleasant stage presence, and a somewhat uninspired beginning saved by a surprising final fifteen minutes.The muted enthusiasm of his performance’s first half elicited many of the same complaints that can be heard about fellow violinist Andrew Bird’s live shows—too many loops and not enough just letting loose and working with what you’ve got. Despite this complaint, the ambition was impressive, and Pallett’s individual talent and vision were unquestionably on display, even if he at times appeared slightly overwhelmed by daunting tasks of his own creation.

But then there’s that final fifteen minutes, which amplified the combined energy of the rest of the set and made the performance as a whole one of the more memorable of Fun Fun Fun Fest: Pallett’s sheepish cover of Destroyer, followed by apparently-intoxicated Destroyer frontman Dan Bejar’s coming on stage to stumble through an energetic repeat of the same song, followed by Pallett’s stirring is-it-ironic-or-is-it-not rendition of Mariah Carey’s mid-nineties show-stopper “Fantasy.” By the time Pallett—looking like a love-struck and deranged Edward Norton—sang “sweet, sweet fantasy, baby” for the last time, it was clear that this musician-on-the-rise has a lot of future left in him, and maybe someday will find a band worth helping him wade through it.

[photo courtesy of Eric Uhlir]

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