It’s a puzzle why some artists get tons of critical and blog buzz and others go unnoticed. My Brightest Diamond isn’t exactly unnoticed at the moment, but she (Shara Worden, that is) isn’t getting nearly as much notice as she deserves. Her album, “Bring Me the Workhorse,” is definitely going to be near the top of my year-end list. And, yet, she didn’t get much publicity for her headlining gig last night at Schubas, and the show was not sold out. Just wait, though — with performances and recordings like this, My Brightest Diamond will rise in prominence, hype or not.
This turned out to be a great triple bill. The first performer of the night, Via Tania, played cool mellow pop. A touch of Norah Jones but much cooler than that, with a blend of electronica with ukelele, some of that laid-back electronic vibe of groups like Broadcast. I liked it quite a bit, and noticed a gaggle of concertgoers going up to the stage at the end of the set to enthusiastically praise Via Tania.
The second band of the night, Pedestrian, was unfamiliar to me, though a number of people in the crowd were obviously fans Terrible name, good band. With tenor vocals and pretty guitar arpeggios building into dramatic climaxes at the ends of the songs, Pedestrian sounded a little like Radiohead or Coldplay (sorry for the Coldplay comparsion — I don’t like that band much, and I don’t mean it as an insult toward Pedestrian). I was duly impressed and now I’m eager to check out Pedestrian’s recordings.
Shara Worden joined Pedestrian onstage for part of the group’s set, and then Pedestrian functioned as her backup band during her set, demonstrating considerable musical prowess. I loved My Brightest Diamond’s opening set at the recent Sufjan Stevens concert at the Rivieria, especially because she had a full string section, but it was just too short. She topped that performance with the one last night at Schubas. She was lacking strings, but her music had even more strength with a full-on rock band. She began by herself, playing a Nina Simone song, then ran through most of the songs off “Bring Me the Workhorse.” Worden has an incredible voice. She has a degree in operatic singing, and it shows, but she also knows how to adapt those talents to rock music. After switching between guitar and keyboards, she sang without playing any instrument on the last song of the night, “Freak Out,” which gave her the freedom to twirl around the stage like a whirling Dervish.