So I saw CASSIS ORANGE, our North Carolina pick in 50 Bands 50 States, today at a Trekky Records day party at the Pour House, where the Cities Aviv shit went down two nights earlier. Thankfully, this show, also a part of the 2012 Hopscotch Music fest, was a hell of a lot more peaceful, and no rowdy-ass frat boys were in sight.
The Pour House, which shares a name with a hefty number of other "punny" bars and venues across the nation, is the kind of bar that features Widespread Panic cover bands but occasionally has something worth going out to. In my younger years growing up in the area, I used to sneak in because it was easy, and I liked hanging out on the balcony, but it was never near and dear to my heart. Today, the crowd was around 30 to 40 people strong, a good turnout considering the bevy of strong artists performing all over the Downtown area, and comprised of butch ladies, punk dudes, and (inexplicably) a few families with very young children. For a while I mentally placed bets on who would start screaming first, the day-drinking punks or the kids, but it became really obvious that everyone was there to listen and wouldn’t act out.
Due to poor flight planning, I wasn’t able to see the show that front woman/mastermind Autumn Ehinger would have preferred for me to see, where she'd be performing with a full band. She’s been in the muck and mire of the scene for several years, looking a lot younger than the stories that she tells implies her to be. She’s been going to Hopscotch each year since its inception, and this is her second time performing at it in some capacity. At the Pour House today, she stood alone, surrounded by a tangle of cords and keyboards. After a brief hello, she told us she didn't do shows like this anymore. She seemed kind of nervous, as if the band were a beloved security blanket that her mom had taken away to put in the wash.
Then she started playing, and all of that nervousness seemed to fade away. Ehinger is an amazing fucking performer, no matter what stage she’s on or who she’s with. Her brand of smooth electro-pop resounded throughout the club, and resonated within me. All of her songs manage to be perfectly evocative of whatever sweet and nuanced feeling she was trying to convey, be it heartbreak or homesickness (a topic she emphasized as important throughout our interview). She specializes in the kind of song that an artist like Leslie Feist always tries to do in the middle of her records, but can’t sustain due to the shrillness of her voice or poor songwriting. Her slower version of “Still No Home”, released on her self-titled EP, brought the house down, and the song itself benefited in an incredible way from the change in pacing. The wistful lonliness marinated in the air, and brought a lot of subtle beauty to a venue that was always defined, in my mind, by the lack of it.
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