Reviews

Concert Review: Laura Burhenn Shows The “Apples And Oranges” of Life At Le Poisson Rouge

Laura Buhrenn and Le Poisson Rouge (LPR) felt like a match made in Heaven. The dimly lit space  allows you to get up close to the artists and feel their energy as if it were yours. Thus, it was perfect for an intimate songstress like Buhrenn whose music and voice feels like a cloud; it floats above you, but its beauty floats within you, as well. She mesmerizes in the quiet painting her songs brush over you. Yet, any heaviness in her tracks are not simply based in melancholy. They are also based in the strange excitement and wisdom at knowing your own dispensability. 

Laura Buhrenn is a member of the Mynabirds, whose last record, Lovers Know, and tour’s end left her in a bit of an emotional rut. As she has explained, “In early 2016, the touring for my last Mynabirds’ record, Lovers Know, was winding down and I was convinced I was going to die. For the first time in my life, I couldn’t see anything in front of me. When I closed my eyes and tried to imagine my future, I saw a yawning black void.” Such an existential challenge is normal when you go from an adrenaline filled life-chapter into one of “what”. By “what” I mean, “What next?”. It is here, in that notion, that Laura Buhrenn’s music and performance thrives. To Buhrenn, “Instead of feeling bleak about it {not touring}, I was surprisingly comforted and full of gratitude for everything I’ve gotten to do and see and experience in my life”.  Such optimism and openness to life turned her LPR performance into a musical space/forum for the thing we all most terrifyingly face: our mortality.

https://www.npr.org/player/embed/498547946/499209894As you know I am an admitted “sad song addict”. Yet, “sad music” is not always about complaining or speaking on your wounds. Sometimes, the music that moves you to tears are the songs that elaborate the beauty of certain, melancholic truths like, the fact that we are only here, on earth, for awhile. Life, for however potently and powerfully we feel it, is finite and temporary, which is why when one chapter ends, as humans we get nervous for the next one. We ask ourselves what it will include or whether it will be our final one. More importantly, we ask what will our life story say about us. Such an idea may seem downsome, but Burhenn sees them not as sad, but complex and  stunning. She has a zen-like approach to the waning ways of living, like in her newest single, “Apples and Oranges”. Throughout her show, she manages to drip positivity like drizzles of rain; you absorb her words and her vocals upon you like a few tears from Heaven. You even stick out your tongue hoping they can quench you slightly and they do. Although Burhenn did do Mynabirds tracks like, “Buffalo Flower”, seeing her up there, alone, felt like I was watching an artist re-discover herself, which, in many ways, she has.

When you go from a successful band unto a solo venture, it is not always a smooth ride. Suddenly, you must find foundation in yourself, but Laura Burhenn has succeeded in doing so. When you see her up on stage with just her keyboard and her heart, you know you are witnessing real, light magic; the kind that does not have to work so hard to cast a spell, but instead only needs a lulling, caring chant to heighten spirits. For Me, Burhenn has a voice that feels tender and wise, which wisdom should be. Wisdom should always carry a note of kindness, like the caress of a parent over a hurting child. For Buhrenn, the dispensability of relationship, careers, dreams, and even our own being should not hurt us, but instead excite us with the igniting opportunity of knowing that only the present counts. Hence, her concert may be a quiet, intimate one, but the amount of meditative visions it inspires make it feel expansive and floating. Sometimes, especially after work, that is exactly what we need; a night of music that does not bombard us with loudness but moves us with its quietness. For More Information On Laura Buhrenn Click Here.