Tori Amos’ out-of-print masterclass performance from Sessions at West 54th proves the incendiary power of live rock
There are times words fail, and many of them occur during the viewing of these seven incredible live videos taken from Tori Amos’ performance on the oft-missed program Sessions at West 54th. Amos and her backing band set these songs afire in a series of performances which rival the Sessions release by Ben Folds (one of the few remaining in print). This is rock music the way it’s meant to be experienced, so powerful and raw in its depth you can only absorb it more completely with an ear pressed suicidally against the side-stage speakers. I’ll let the songs do the talking, thanks to the wonder that is YouTube.
Enjoy, and feel free to post in the comments some live performances which inspire you as a listener. The more the better!
Guitar: Steve Caton
Bass: Jon Evans
Drums: Matt Chamberlain
- – - – -
SONG #1 — “Precious Things”
SONG #2 — “iiieee”
SONG #3 — “Past the Mission”
SONG #4 — “Caught a Nice Sneeze”
SONG #5 — “Take to the Sky” (Solo)
SONG #6 — “Cooling” (Solo)
SONG #7 — “The Waitress”
If you enjoy your piano-based alternative with plenty of Fiona Apple meets Under The Pink-era Tori Amos, Sarah Fimm brings plenty to the table you’re sure to enjoy. “Everything Becomes Whole” has a self-destructive sense to it, as Fimm voices the frustration with the fear that the only way she’ll ever feel whole is through her own demise. She’s been recording under the radar for more than a decade, earning praise from Rolling Stone and Billboard, and though her songwriting still showcases a deep respect for the artists of the 90s, there’s also a deep vein of twisted confusion to this music. Hints that she’s equally influenced by the likes of Lisa Gerrard or Maynard James Keenan abound, making for a surprisingly varied listening experience.
Fimm’s upcoming EP Barn Sessions was recorded in upstate New York, and will be released in physical form on a wooden flash drive complete with videos and photos captured during the creative process. The EP features stripped-down versions of rock-oriented material from her last album, Near Infinite Possibility, along with covers from artists as varied as Neil Young and David Lynch. You can’t buy it until next week, but enjoy the video for “Everything Becomes Whole” below and let me know what you think. Is this something worthy of wider exposure?
Lana Del Rey is one of the most unique voices in an alt-pop world filled with unique voices. She’s “somewhere between early 60s Hollywood and a hip-hop torch singer from the future” according to her publicist, which sounds bizarre until you actually take the time to listen to the music, at which point you’ll hear everything from Diane Birch to Brandi Carlile with hints of Tori Amos hiding in the background. Her subtle vocals weave through your ears and bounce effortlessly through the confines of your skull, taking you prisoner until you vow to hit repeat.
This New York native’s music is like an aural trek through an alternate-universe Twin Peaks, with her “epic knocked-down dragged out love stories in song” seeming like the perfect piece of cherry pie to follow your two cups of perfect black coffee. This is epic in every sense of the word, and trust me, one song just ain’t enough.