Bloodshot Records artist Lydia Loveless joked around in between her songs on Friday, Nov. 28, at Lincoln Hall, but she set aside her goofy playfulness when she was in the full throes of performing her music, including many songs from her outstanding 2014 album Somewhere Else. Sometimes, she took her hands off her guitar and held them to her head, gesturing like someone in pain or shouting in anger. And then at the end of the night — after a deep set of riveting, twangy country-rock with her band and a few “off-script” solo songs — she ended up sitting on the stage with her legs sprawled out as the band kept on rocking. In the final moments, she covered up her face, and then, as the song ended, slipped off the stage without a word. She’d just said good-night with the exclamation point of her music.
Before Loveless took the stage, her sister Jessica played a lively set of shaggy but upbeat rock with her own band, the Girls. Lydia joined in for one song and one sibling hug.
Country singer Lydia Loveless has a terrific new album out on Bloodshot Records called Somewhere Else, and she played a bunch of times last week in Austin, Texas, during South By Southwest. The show I caught was her performance on Friday afternoon (March 14, 2014) at Bloodshot’s unofficial SXSW party at the Yard Dog art gallery on South Congress. It was just the sort of passionate and fierce performance I expected after listening to her record many times, enhanced by the fact that her backup band really kicked ass. At the start of the show, she introduced the crowd to her tour mascot — I believe she said its name is Baby Monty. “Rescued from a Denny’s in Kansas City.”
Near the end of her set, she sarcastically remarked, “I hope you’ve enjoyed our Neko Case tribute set. … We’re ‘Little Neko Case.'” She was alluding to the critics who have said she sounds a lot like Case. I can see why people would compare them, but the thought hadn’t even crossed my mind. Loveless has a distinctive personality and singing style all her own.
Local group the Dirty Diamond got the show off to a good start, with a fun mash-up of Girl Group vocals, a bit of soul and dance, laptop percussion and electric guitars. The group was missing one of its three regular singers, but the performance still came off well. www.myspace.com/pumpthedirtydiamonds