Singer-songwriter Nina Nastasia spent a couple of nights earlier this week (July 26 and 27) playing at the Hideout in Chicago, recording the shows for a planned live album. I was there on Sunday night, and it was an excellent, intimate show. Nastasia was sitting on a chair (elevated a bit above the Hideout’s normal stage) with her acoustic guitar, while a violin and viola player added chamber-music accompaniment that ranged from delicate to dramatic. It was a lovely setting for Nastasia’s songs — and an interesting contrast to the acoustic-guitar-plus-jazzy-drums arrangements on the album she did a couple of years about with Jim White. At times, Nastasia sang with a touch of that lonesome sound you hear in old-time country music. In other passages, she delivered her words with the timing of a jazz singer or a storytelling vibe.
The opening act on Sunday was Paletazo (a.k.a. Chicago singer-songwriter Chris Hansen), who played straight-up folk rock. (The live set sounded a lot less raw than the songs at www.myspace.com/paletazosongs.) The music sounded especially good when 1900s member (and Hideout concert booker) Jeanine O’Toole joined in on harmony vocals for a few songs.
Photos of Nina Nastasia and Paletazo. (I did not take a whole lot of photos at this show, since it was so quiet and I didn’t want the clicking of my camera to show up on that live recording or disturb the ambience.)