Erin Brazill played an opening slot at the Bottom of the Hill on Tuesday, January 26th. The next two acts were male singer-songwriters who make the type of music that sounds like they're crying while they sing. Unsurprisingly, the moderate-sized crowd was mainly composed of teenage girls, decked out to the nines and squished right up against the stage. Due to club constraints, Erin was only able to play with a violinist accompanying her, rather than the full band she would normally use. Yet despite these daunting circumstances, she seemed to win over the crowd in the end.
Erin sings with a very pure and powerful voice. She manages to maintain tight control of her vocal chords over the whole range of her repertoire, in a way that makes you imagine she is a professionally trained singer. Yet she doesn't rely on her voice to support her songs, balancing instrumentation and vocals easily. She played a fairly crude guitar in comparison with her singing, using power chords frequently, but without the benefit of seeing her play with the full band and knowing if she normally relies on the guitar, it's hard to hold this against her.
Her songs had a decidedly populist bent, steering somewhere between the worlds of pop music and mainstream indie rock (it pains me to acknowledge indie rock as a genre, rather than as an indicator of success), and were definitely entertaining. One of the erstwhile groupies in the crowd confessed to me afterward that she thought all of Ms. Brazill's songs "sounded the same," but I would again hesitate to accept that criticism at face value, as I imagine Ms. Brazill normally using an orchestra of instruments to infuse additional life into her songs. All things considered, it would probably be worthwhile to go see her play again the next time she gets to carry the whole band with her.