Thu, May 19
Limelight Music + Drinks
Kimberly Cotton’s airy vocals are captivating, rife with emphatic pauses, and full of sweet sensuality. But as we know, Limelight crowds are fickle. They’ll show up in droves for the city’s darlings, but what about an acoustic show? A massive crowd seemed unlikely for a venue where bar banter and disco-ball overkill tends to invade the more intimate auras — auras like the one worn by Cotton, formerly of alt-rock group Verity, here to present Shine, her first EP.
Despite the overwhelmingly loud mix of styles spun by Doc J between sets, all three performances were enjoyable in their own right. A few drew close to the stage for Belukhas (aka George Garza, Pop Pistol’s bassist) as he led off the night with poignant, emotion-driven vocals and soulful guitar accompaniment. Folk act Daydreamer followed, evoking her namesake with a dreamlike drowsiness that really should have come complete with comfy chairs and a campfire.
Small and unassuming, Cotton engaged the crowd with breathy banter that calls to mind the whimsical, staccato swagger of alt-goddess Ani DiFranco. She occasionally growled her lyrics as if overwhelmed with feeling, though she regained herself quickly in an impressive show of control and chaos. But it was obvious her sweet, gypsy warbling — accentuated by a mix of quirky instrumentation, including ukulele, kazoo, and tambourine — had seized the audience’s interest.
Some of her pieces nodded to the blues while others were energetic enough that the crowd, which had grown quite a bit by that time, went from sitting on the floor in front to joyously dancing and singing along. And she maintained a pleasant demeanor in spite of technical difficulties. The ukulele played a starring role in the second half of the show, and was met by excited approval by the audience.
Towards the end of the show Cotton appeared unsure of what to play next. Her response was a seven-minute call-and-response Hare Krishna mantra (she’s a new convert) that reached ecstatic proportions for the dancers who dug it, but froze out those who didn’t. Yet, it was an overall fun performance and a welcome change of pace for the Limelight. Ultimately, minimalist acts like hers are better suited for venues capable of providing the kind of intimacy that is critical to the acoustic experience. Venues, however, won’t be an issue for Cotton for a while, as this show was her last hurrah before taking a hiatus to travel. For links to her EP, check out Kimberly Cotton on Facebook.
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