March 28, 2011

Marian Call Backyard Concert

Overcast Saturday afternoon, a cozy backyard, and Marian Call and her music.  Some things just go together perfectly.

Don't know Marian Call?  She is a folk singer from Alaska who also happens to be a geek.  She plays a typewriter, uses a rainstick and sometimes a kazoo, and you'll like her music.  Really.  Last year, she toured and played in all 50 states and performed at houses, coffee shops, and any venue fans could come up with.  She wrapped up in December and among other things since then, she's been working on a new album.  She is in Los Angeles recording for said album, and like she does, she arranged a few concerts in the area.

I saw her perform a handful of songs at w00tstock 2.4 at San Diego Comic Con last year but missed my chances to see her in a solo concert.  Now I know that when Marian Call announces a concert in your area, clear your calendar immediately.  You should experience her music live, and the best way to do so is in a close environment like a house or in this case, a backyard.

The backyard was just the right size and lawn chairs and blankets covered a much of the available ground.  My friend and I didn't bring chairs, but we managed to score a front row space with our blanket.  The ground was wet from recent rain, but we didn't so much mind having damp jeans.  Marian and her guitarist, Bryan Ray, set up in a small alcove in the corner of the yard.  A few brick steps led up to their umbrella-covered stage.

Marian played songs we knew, songs that are from the new album, and songs by request.  She explained that "Got to Fly" is long because she was explaining all of fiction, how avocados are like $4 in Alaska, and about how "Vera" is a folk story that happens in the future, in space.  Obviously.  Her rainstick kept away the rain, but by the end of the concert it was chilly enough for everyone to be wrapped up their warm things and Ray (guitarist) had trouble keeping his fingers warm.  Marian delighted the audience with her vocal skills, her humor, and her overall good-human-being-ness (I like making up words).  For the encore, she asked if we wanted to hear something old or something new.  Someone in the audience joked, "How about something borrowed or something blue?"  Then Marian launched into an a capella rendition of Joni Mitchell's "Blue."  We all watched in awed silence.

Small concerts like this are amazing not only because you get to experience the music in such an up close and personal way - they also bring people together.  Everyone was friendly and so excited to be there.  I overheard at least one couple saying that they were new to Marian's music, and they were gushing about the experience.  You get to talk to nice people that you most likely have things in common with and you all have a grand time.

If you can see her live, do it.  There is usually a suggested donation, and I'm confident that you'll feel like you get an experience worth every cent you donated.  Until then, visit her website.  You can listen to all of her music for free, though I highly encourage you to put some money in her tip jar or to purchase her albums.

"This is a song about spaceships.  Because I like spaceships." - Marian Call
How could you not adore this woman?

cross-posted at Geek Girls Network.


  1. Awesome! (And I think I semi-met you after the show? Were you wrapped up in a blanket next to Adam Levermore?) I was wearing the "NERD" shirt.

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  2. I wasn't directly next to Adam, but I was in the front row to the far right. :)

  3. Trying to remember now...Katie was the other woman with the purple blanket, yes? We were all standing around after the show.

  4. Yep, I think Lisa was in the pink blanket and Katie had the purple one. :)

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