She & Him charm the pants off First Avenue

Categories: Concert Review

Review by Andrea Myers
Photos by Daniel Corrigan

Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward sure are easy to like. Everything about the She & Him duo is charming: their mismatched pronouns; their shy, disarming demeanor; their classic, old fashioned love songs. Within minutes of taking the stage at First Avenue, they had captured the attention (and hearts) of every person in the near-capacity crowd, and the audience hung on their every note and phrase. It was possibly the most soothing, engaging show I have ever seen at a rock club.

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That's She on the right and Him on the left. More photos by Daniel Corrigan are here.

She & Him played almost every song off their debut album, Volume One, fleshing out their set with a couple of new songs and some choice covers (Joni Mitchell's "You Turn Me On, I'm a Radio" and an encore performance of Sam Cooke's "Bring It On Home to Me"). For most of the set Deschanel and Ward were joined by a backing band, but some of the best moments occurred when the band left the stage and just She & Him were left to delight the audience.

For the most part, Ward stayed to the side of the stage and focused on his guitar work, but when the band left he stepped up to the mic to sing a duet with Deschanel on Smokey Robinson's "You Really Got a Hold On Me." It was clear the audience wanted to hear more from Ward -- a swell of screams rose up every time he sang a line. But his vocal work was sparse, and he sang with his back to the audience and his eyes on Deschanel, making it clear that this project is all about her and her lovely songs.

Deschanel appeared nervous at first, but toward the end of the set she had relaxed and looked to be sincerely enjoying herself -- a big contrast to her stage presence at South by Southwest this year, which was the first time I saw She & Him live. In Austin, Deschanel maintained a deer-in-the-headlights expression throughout their brief set, but this time around she smiled and laughed and joked with the audience. "I bought this dress today, right here in Minneapolis," she announced, motioning to her baby blue, '40s-era cocktail dress, which was met with hearty approval from the crowd.

In the end, She & Him's set felt too short, and the audience clearly wanted more even after the encore -- a good sign for these delightful rising stars. Here's hoping that they release Volume Two soon.

Set List:

Black Hole
I Was Made For You
Change Is Hard
Sentimental Heart
*band leaves, just Matt and Zooey play a set
You Really Got a Hold on Me (Smokey Robinson cover)
I Don't Want to Wonder if You Love Me...cover??
Terrible News - new
You Turn Me On, I'm a Radio (Joni Mitchell cover)
*band comes back
Saw You Lingering Still - new
Got Me
I Thought I Saw Your Face Today
Why Do You Let Me Stay Here?
This is Not a Test
Sweet Darlin'

Encore:
Bring It On Home to Me (Sam Cooke cover)


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