Tuesday night saw a co-headlining bill at The Rickshaw Stop featuring Alela Diane and Marissa Nadler, who are currently on a US tour. When Diane came on it was as if she were playing to a living room of close friends — her banter possessed genuine and humble tones, as she chuckled at requests for songs she wasn’t sure if she remembered. Another tradition Diane can’t seem to shy away from is inviting her father to play her homecoming shows. Tom joked about being called down last minute, but lent an organic element to Diane’s textured folk traditionals by adding guitar, backup vocals and mandolin.
Marissa Nadler took the stage with a timid presence, admitting her shyness when she asked for the lights to be further dimmed. Toward the second half of her set, Nadler peeled back her timid exterior and opened up her voice to a wider range. Until this point the songs had been melting together, to a pleasurable background effect, but I started to find reasonable the crowd’s behavior of kicking off shoes and perching cross-legged on pillows around the floor. Nadler uses an abstract nature motif in her lyrics. While it’s conventionally expected in traditional folk to develop lyrics into a story, Nadler seems to pull these pictures and places out even further, like a spider stretching its web until its delicacy is ready for consumption.