Ever meet someone who is lacking that little filter most of us have…you know, the one between our mind and our mouth? Now ever encounter one of those people when they have access to a mic and a room full of people? Stream-of-consciousness stage banter is riveting, especially when the person on stage is Terra Naomi.
After the release of her major-label debut, “Under the Influence,” in 2007 (a record she says came to define everything she did not want to be), Naomi learned one of the biggest lessons of her life: to always be true to herself. Considering how entertained I was by both her music and the candor she expressed between songs, I can’t imagine who would want her to be anyone else.
As Naomi transitioned between the piano and guitar, she would question the audience members as if engaging in conversation with us each individually: “Do you want to know what the songs are about?,” “Can you hear me OK?,” “Have you noticed pot is like the new Starbucks in California? They are shops on every corner now.” Although we couldn’t answer all of her questions, she definitely elicited a reaction from the audience. Quite a few were laughing when she performed “The Patron Saint of Strippers,” the only one of her songs to have a corresponding candle (to be honest, I think it might be the only song by anyone to have a corresponding candle), and many were singing along to fan favorites “The Vicoden Song” and “Say It’s Possible,” the track that won her the YouTube award for “Best Music Video” in 2006.
While Naomi started her set with the lighthearted “You for Me,” a romanticized vision of isolation that anyone in love could buy into wholeheartedly (Seriously, who wouldn’t want to live on a mountain with just their significant other and a couple of dogs? Cat people need not answer that one.), she chose to end it with “Suffer for My Sins,” a hellish track about parental projection and self-fulfilling prophecy. Both songs are available on her newly released acoustic EP, “Go Quietly,” the follow-up to that album she didn’t want to make. The range Naomi demonstrated during this performance both thematically and musically proved she’s an artist who has a lot to say, and I’m not just talking about the stage banter. Let’s hope she never has to filter her true self again.
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