Friday, July 28, 2006

Mieka Pauley: The Space 07/25/06

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Mieka Pauley:
The Space - Hamden, CT 07/25/06

I visited The Space in Hamden, Connecticut on Tuesday, July 26 for the first time to see Mieka Pauley play and I was not disappointed by either.

First off, The Space is a terribly cool place to see a show. With a vintage clothing store above it, you walk down a short flight of steps and you immediately get it…The Space is a great “space.” Envision about the coolest musician’s basement you could think of and you’ve just about got the idea. The Space is littered with comfy couches, chairs and tables. There’s a good size performance area at the head of the room and the sound booth at the rear. The Space is an alcohol free venue so no drinks, but they do have a refreshment bar with assorted beverages and snacks. They also allowed the artists performing that night to take up the entire wall next to the entrance with tables for CDs, shirts and other assorted merchandise. The atmosphere of The Space was very laid back and comfortable and made it a very enjoyable place to see Mieka Pauley play.

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After a short house announcement, Mieka took the stage with what I believe was a red Ovation Celebrity Deluxe acoustic guitar, checked her tuning and began her short, seven song set with Bravely. From there it was off to The Way It Is, Run, a haunting rendition of the Otis Redding classic (Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay, her fantastically sarcastic anthem to the bad gig Blunt and Secret before closing the set with Stronger.

Right off the bat, the first thing that stuck me about seeing Mieka Pauley live was how good her voice was. Some artists can make amazing records but really can’t cut it live…she is not one of those people. I had a notebook with me, and my own hand written note is, “god damn this girl can sing!!!” including the exclamation points for good measure.

Even more so than on her EPs, Pauley knows how to use dynamics to her advantage live. Her voice ranged from barely a whisper to full on without so much as a noticeable waver in pitch. From my view in the audience, she was having a good night…an early night mind you as she went on at 7:30, but a good night none the less.

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For me, one of them most entertaining moments of Mieka’s set was hearing her perform her song Blunt. I was familiar with the song before the show through the live recordings available at her website,, but hearing her perform it live was a blast. In a nutshell, Blunt is the working musician’s anthem. From bad gigs to questionable comments, it brilliantly encompasses the experience of playing music to the unappreciative masses.

Another thing about Mieka Pauley live is the intensity with which she is able to express herself during her performances. I introduced myself to her before the show and spoke with her briefly. She was extremely personable and grateful for people coming out to see her. (Also, rather than just talking about herself, she took the time to recommend a few of the other artists on the bill that evening.) When she took the stage however, she was transformed. She overcame the occasional coffee order and an open snare drum to become part of the songs she sang, not just the singer of them. Seeing and hearing that was a very powerful experience to be a part of.

The only other thing I can say is that Mieka Pauley is an outstanding live performer as well as recording artist. On stage she’s intense and passionate and, in my limited experience, off stage she’s generous with her time and appreciative of her fans. I highly recommend seeing her now while she’s still playing more intimate venues like The Space, because I can assure you it’s only a matter of time before the venues start to match her huge, huge voice.

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