Published Mar 31, 2011After slowly winning crowds over for the last few years as an opening act for bands like Junip and the National, Brooklyn-via-North Dakota songwriter Sharon Van Etten is finally getting her due with her first headlining tour. The delicate mix of ethereal bar-floor blues and striking acoustic folk that stretches across her sophomore long-player, Epic, have captured many critics' ears, not to mention her slowly growing and now devoted fanbase.
Clutching her signature large, red acoustic guitar, Van Etten quickly began to charm the hell out of the crowded Media Club. The set began with a solo Van Etten playing "A Crime," the opening track off Epic, and, within seconds, the crowd was enraptured, all eyes gazing upon the songstress and her every move. Her band for this tour, featuring a bass player and drummer, quickly jumped in for the second song, the Cat Power-esque "Peace Signs," fleshing out the songs with subtle rhythms. Compared to Epic, which at times features multi-layered production, the sparse live show was representative of the strength of the songs and was propelled by the incredibly strong and wise-beyond-her-years vocals of Van Etten.
Between tracks, Van Etten talked, a lot. She admitted to being a bit tipsy but continued to nervously spew out anecdotes, which only increased the intimacy with the responsive audience. After a fairly short set, she came back out for an encore and performed a couple more haunting songs with a harmonium, hypnotizing the crowd.
Time will tell, but it's a safe bet that her future appearances in Vancouver will be met by much larger crowds, causing the few who trekked out to see her this time around to reminisce and brag about the intimate show they once witnessed.