Sarah Jaffe @ Granada
Words by Melissa “Sausage” Cox. Photos by Anna “Hashbrowns” Vernon.
The last time local artist Sarah Jaffe was in the Granada, she cleaned up at the Dallas Observer Music Awards, winning Best Solo Act, Best Album, Best Song, Best Folk Act, and Best Female Vocalist. This time, she performed to a sold out crowd, who came in droves to listen to her sing. Jaffe released her first full-length album in April, Surburban Nature, now available in vinyl.
There were two opening bands – Jonathan Evan Clark and Seryn. We missed the first opener, but made it in time to see most of Seryn’s set. It was quite striking walking into the theater in mid-song. Read on for the full review after the jump.
Seryn has huge vocals and harmonies, and are following the trend of using every instrument they can get their hands on – violin, mandolin, trumpet, multiple drums, etc. It immediately reminded me of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. Each song never ended the way it began, and really held my attention without having heard it before. For the last song, the drummer played the accordion and bass drum at the same time, then briefly switched to a bass guitar before sitting and giving his full attention to the drums for the dramatic ending. Yeah, it’s like that.
A group of people crowded the stage after Seryn ended in anticipation of even getting a sneak peek at Sarah Jaffe’s feet under the giant screen that covers the stage between sets. It was apparent that the female-heavy audience was filled with huge fans that have followed her for some time. Soon, the lights dimmed and the video premiere of her beautifully shot DOMA winning single, “Clementine,” . That followed with a video of Sarah and company getting down to a dance song, and from the glimpse of her feet you could see from the front, you could see she was dancing along with it and ready to go.
The screen lifted to reveal her standing alone on stage. She thanked everyone for coming, and was clearly impressed and overtaken by the fact she was performing to her first sold out crowd at the Granada. She would continue to thank everyone excessively throughout the night. She was joined on stage with a line-up of who’s who of Dallas artists – Centro-matic”s Scott Danbom on keys, Pleasant Grove”s Jeff Ryan on drums, The Crash That Took Me”s Becki Howard on violin and Robert Gomez on guitar and assorted other instruments.
I’m not typically into singer/songwriters, and sometimes her songs went too far into that category and lost me a little, but I can’t deny that she has an extremely strong voice. When she starts crooning, you can’t help but pause and escape in it. There was one song that she played with an accordion, guitar and xylophone in a minor key, and her restrained vocals made one of the sweetest, most haunting melodies I’ve heard in a while. Before she sang her big single, “Clementine,” she mentioned that at first she didn’t want to include it on the album, but her family convinced her otherwise. I have never heard the Granada Theater more quiet than when she sang that song. It was captivating, and everyone seemed wrapped in her spell.
Before she left for her encore, she asked if the audience could sing along to the song “Before You Go.” She said that if we did sing along she might throw up because she would be so happy – my favorite quote of the night.
When she did come out for her encore, she surprised everyone by covering Radiohead’s “Creep.” I feel that the line, “What the hell am I doing here” struck a chord with her, because the entire night she seemed almost in disbelief of the audience and the crowd that gathered for her. No matter how she felt, she proved to everyone there through her vocal prowess that this is exactly where she belongs.