The new Lincoln Hall music venue has sold out some shows in its first couple of weeks, but on Thursday (Oct. 29) it was one of those rather chilled-out evenings with a small crowd of music fans standing around the main floor while three performers delivered their songs unadorned and intimate.
First up was the Baltimore duo Wye Oak, who have released two records on the Merge label, including this year’s The Knot. Jenn Wasner sang and played guitar, belting out some strong notes and shaking her hair with abandon whenever it was time for a solo. Andy Stack isn’t singing as much as he did on the first Wye Oak record, but he pulled off the impressive feat of playing the drums and keyboards at the same time. As much as I liked the Wye Oak performance, I wonder if they could accomplish more with a couple of other musicians to provide more variety and color to their arrangements. Still, it was fairly catchy rock music.
The middle act in the lineup was Julie Doiron, who was in an extremely chatty mood as she played her music solo, taking lots of requests from the audience, basically playing whatever her fans wanted to hear. Doiron’s stage banter was pretty funny, and she seemed to be in a “don’t know when to stop talking” mood. Her songs sounded more fragile than they did when she played with a full band at the Empty Bottle earlier this year, but Doiron still knew how to rock even when she was just playing by herself. What a charming, honest performer.
The headliners were Herman Dune (or Düne), a duo from France whose music is sometimes labeled “anti-folk” … another one of those genre labels I can’t really figure out. The members of this duo call themselves David-Ivar Herman Düne (guitars and vocals) and Néman Herman Düne (drums). I had not heard much of Herman Dune’s music before seeing this show, and I was initially a bit put off by David-Ivar’s vocals, especially at the moments when he does funny, falsetto things with it. But over the course of this concert, I warmed up to their music. There was a plainspoken quality to the music, and at times, the chords had that classic Velvet Underground sound. Reminded me a bit of Smog (Bill Callahan).