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Sunday, May 1, 2022

Flock of Dimes / Karima Walker - The Southern Cafe & Music Hall, Charlottesville, VA

First live music since seeing Wye Oak in Durham, NC on February 29, 2020.  Also the first show I'd been to with my brother since we saw Scorpions back in high school.  I had fairly high expectations that ended up being exceeded in a sense, but almost replaced by the level of intimacy both with the crowd and the performances.

We arrived at the venue shortly after doors opened and looked around.  It didn't take long.  The capacity of the Music Hall portion of this property might hold 250 people, it might not.  While it was sparsely populated when we first arrived, people began trailing in and the place was respectably full by the time the show started.

After seeing Thor & Friends open for Wye Oak here in RVA a few years ago, I predicted that Jenn's other band, Flock of Dimes, would have a similarly amazing opener.  Karima Walker was another stunner, enrapturing the room with pieces of music that flowed from one to another like water cascading off rocks on the way down a mountain.  Hard to tell how long she played, but she gave virtually no opportunities for applause until the set was over.  You could have heard a pin drop in that room.  So much so that I spoke aloud to no one in particular after the set, "I want to invite everyone here to start a new society, because you people know how to shut the fuck up!"  It was stunning that in this day and age you can have a show this delicate, this intimate, and have an audience pay such reverence that it was literally silent save her soft-sung words and ethereal music.

After a short break, Jenn and the band took the stage, kicking off the set with the entire A side of their latest album, Head of Roses.  Over the course of the evening, they would play virtually every song from that album (the lone exception being No Question from side B), ending the main set with the last two tracks on the record.  Just before playing the title track, Jenn said, "OK we've got one more for you here, but you know the drill, we'll play this, leave, and be back up here in like 30 seconds."  The performance of that song wasn't the first thing that brought me to tears that night, but I wasn't alone in that either.

Pretty much flawless performances all the way around, and Jenn's guitar tone was incredible - most notably the tearing, slicing feeling it conveyed on Price of Blue.

Here's a link to the setlist as well as to Flock of Dimes' web site.  

And be sure to check out Karima Walker, after she was done, my brother kept saying, "Damn, I'd hate to have to follow that!"  A full live performance on Audiotree can be found here.

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