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Date: Fri, 30 Sep 2005 12:00AM PDT)
From: Send an Instant Message "John French" <mosshead7@yahoo.com>
Subject: recent concert review: Liz Berlin (of Rusted Root)
To: submissions@pitchforkmedia.com


Concert Review: Liz Berlin at the Club Cafe Friday, May 21, 2004

There was magic in the air this night. It being a Friday in May and spring in full bloom. The Club Cafe was packed with fans - standing room only. We just got the last of the standing room -with our backs to the wall by the wait station and entrance to kitchen. That's okay, we could hear and see just fine and it sounded great. Liz looked like she was really enjoying herself on stage - relaxed, confidant and elegantly charming.

In amazement, we wondered why no one was smoking and later found out from one of the hip waitresses that Liz had asked everyone please not to smoke through her performance. And, as the audience did all night, they gladly obliged. Liz had the chic, eclectic room as attentive as I've ever seen an audience or even heard on live recordings. A captivating performance that was as relaxed and fun as the ever so apparent professionalism that Liz brings to the game through experience, trial and error and an unrelenting successfulness.

For the hardcore listeners of Liz's music, she broke out the beautifully eerie Monster - that has all the darkness of Freakwater's Cloak of Frogs yet nicely balanced with her high reaching range of notes casting bright light to penetrate that darkness and take the song from what could be "creepy" to a cool, dark, pop song. The lyrics and guitar playing were so alive for this song that as she sung, "I'm gonna take this book and gonna re-write it my way.." it felt liberating to be in that space with her - just being an "awakened" fan. Liz is going to do things her way and that's what makes her and her music interesting, fresh and leaves you curiously wondering what she is going to come up with next in the confines of pop music and rock stardom that has been played out like a Bon Jovi made for TV story: Living On A Prayer.

Not too may musicians have successfully shifted with the sands of time like Liz and her band, Rusted Root. And, all kidding aside, the music business is like living on a prayer and yet Liz and Rusted Root continue to "keep on keeping on" and getting people off on a polished, primordial vibration of big sounds, timed silence, cosmic chaos and harmony. Liz's versions of Moon off the album Rusted Root and Too Much off Welcome to My Party were definitely sentimental favorites with the crowd. With my back to the wall, I scanned the crowd every so often to gage their reactions - and they nodded to the weaving rhythms as if they were in their car listening to the CDs or at a Rusted Root show.

It was a great night. There was a sense of magic in the air. Spring is definitely in full bloom - and so is Liz Berlin. This was my third night of music in Pittsburgh. Thursday it was Jazz at the Club Cafe; Friday it was Liz at the Club Cafe; and, Saturday, was farewell to Mariss Jansons at Heinz Hall Hall featuring Beethoven's 9th: Ode to Joy - and all of it accidentally spills over and mixes into an appreciation and gratitude for those who "do" here in Pittsburgh whether residing here or just blowing
through it.

Written by John A. Conte` JR


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Poetry  By John Alan Conte`, Jr.
Copyright 2005
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