Instores are probably the best type of gig you can get. Yes the performance may be short but what you witness is something very intimate as you are right up close to that particular artist. So when I was looking through the list of events held at Rough Trade I then came across Anais Mitchell who would be appearing at the quaint Rough Trade West promoting the current album Young Man In America. I attended this evening on the basis that I was following Mitchell when Myspace was the in thing. Arriving an hour before was a wise decision because the shop did start to get packed out. Once 6pm came Anais then came and stood on top of the counter. “My name is Anais, this is the actual release day of this record we’re just putting out Young Man In America. It actually comes out today. Birthday party is happening now in the Rough Trade store which is awesome. We get to celebrate independent record stores still alive and kicking. I’m so glad you’re all here. I’m standing on the counter. I’m just going to stay up here and play a few songs” she then said before launching into the last track on the album and this being Ships. This was a nice folk song with smooth lyrics which were delivered faultlessly. Anais has distinctive vocals which were truly incredible. “Is everybody doing OK down there? Can you hear everything? I usually have this ridiculous little dance that I do but I can’t. I’m afraid to do it up here because I might fall off but you guys will catch me. Right?” Mitchell said before singing the albums title track and this being the upbeat Young Man In America. Other than being a singer Anais also is a fine lyricist. This song was fantastic and showed off her excellent writing skills as you can picture a story to it.
“You guys in the back you could probably squeeze and people would make way. We could get even more cosier than we are. So clearly this record is for sale from Rough Trade. Also we have some T Shirts which are like brand new we are very excited Young Man In America T Shirts. We don’t wanna say there’s men’s and women’s. We have like the femmier and the butchier shirts” Mitchell said before getting stuck into Shepherd. This sad folk ballad was based around the first chapter of one of her father’s novels, which told the story of a shepherd returning from the fields to find his wife and unborn child lying dead. “I think I have time for one more. Is there anyone that knows this record already that wants to hear something in particular? So we should say I’m doing a little show on Wednesday at Westminster but it’s sold out, but there’s another show in May with my band which I’m super excited about the Young Man band we’re all coming back. We’ll be at The Lexington 29th May so I hope to see your faces there” Anais said before singing Tailor. This wonderful song had some fantastic lyrics which were delivered gently. There is something about acoustic music that I find rather hypnotic. Also this song has a rather interesting video with a typewriter. “You guys my friend Wallis Bird is here. I kind of want to ask her to sing with me if we can do one more. We’ll do some older song. We’re going to do a song from Hadestown. I was lucky enough to get to sing with Wallis in the Hades show we did in London. We’ll give you a song from Hadestown this is the record that came before this one and it’s a duet between Orpheus and Eurydice. Wallis will play Eurydice and I will play Orpheus. Thankyou so much for being here, it’s really a pleasure to play for such a beautiful listening crowd in a store” Mitchell said before ending the set with The Wedding Song. This song featured on the Hadestown LP which was released in 2010. Originally The Wedding Song was a duet with Justin Vernon. This was an outstanding duet despite the few pauses during this song. This song was a love story which was delivered superbly. The album Hadestown is well worth a listen as it is like a Folk Opera.
Young Man In America
The Wedding Song
OVERALL: Anais Mitchell has something extremely special. The tracks that she played captivated me greatly and the fact I love Folk music made the set played even more appealing. From what I heard on the night Young Man In America is one outstanding album and I am counting down the days until she is back in the UK in May. Anais is one incredible singer/ songwriter and it is surprising that her first album came out it 2002. She is someone extremely special and you need to see her live when you have the chance.