Moonlighting with Broken Social Scene has merely delayed Leslie Feist’s return – by two years – but what a return it was to be.
The Shepherd’s Bush Empire was transformed into a makeshift jazz club with all seating and cavernous lightning (though no smoking). It served as the perfect setting for Feist, as she opened the box of treats that is her new third studio album, The Reminder.
How she has not reached the commercial levels of Chan Marshall, or even Miss Newsom is a conundrum of advanced sudoku proportions. Her voice is certainly up there, whilst her back catalogue is a treasure trove of jazz, soul, indie and folk that mixes it up as much as Broken Social Scene do instruments.
Onstage in a white rainbow specked number, she plays both the happy-go-lucky-girl, hop-scotching across the stage, and the riven singer-songwriter. The space about allowed you to literally kick back, and without a mass of bodies groping for space on the floor, the notoriously divine acoustics of the Empire carried even better.
The likes of When I Was A Young Girl cut the polite silence with a nefarious knife, while sparkling ditties the Gatekeeper and So Sorry roamed the cool air freely.
Feist didn’t take herself too seriously, giggling and engaging in random conversation between songs. Dropping numbers like I Feel It All, the bouncy My Moon My Man and Sea Lion Woman eased the atmosphere more on the side of gig, than a grim showing of the tortured, world weary singer songwriter.
Not that you didn’t get those intense moments. The Water produced a show stopping moment of vocal projection, that you dared not whisper or turn in your chair for fear of breaking the silence. Though, it must be said, the lineage that goes something like Smith, Mitchell, Harvey, Marshall, Newsom definitely has room for some Feist in it.