American singer-songwriter Stephin Merritt of the Magnetic Fields filled the intimate Masonic Lodge at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery with his baritone voice last Friday, the first of two sold out nights. Armed with a six-string ukulele and Sam Davol on cello, his often somber songs felt right at home in a room full of quiet and attentive fans. The 14-date solo U.S. tour features an alphabetized set list and indeed, he started the night of with “Andrew in Drag,” followed by one of the best songs of all time, “The Book of Love”. Though a full Magnetic Fields lineup would’ve been great to see, it was such a special treat to hear his amazing music stripped down like that and any fan couldn’t have asked for more. I know I couldn’t have and I’ll cherish the experience until my next chance to see him again.
Don’t you love it when you go to a show with zero expectations from the opener only to be completely taken by surprise? Owen Ashworth aka Advance Base was an unexpected treat for sure. I’m sure it’s my fault that I didn’t know about him sooner since he’s been making music for so long and has even collaborated with some of my favorites, but I love leaving a show feeling excited with a new discovery. He was accompanied by singer-songwriter Nicholas Krgovich who possibly owns one of the most calming voices I’ve ever heard. Just amazing.