Sammy the Seal

Marit Larsen w/ Teitur @ Club Passim, Cambridge, MA 3/3/12

In vinyl on Sunday, 4 March, 2012 at 10:47

I thought I shouldn’t wait to write about the show, but I also thought I should wait to see how I processed it all after a night’s sleep (that, and I’d been up over 18 hours at midnight). But since I went to bed nearly three hours after that, I should’ve just done it while I was exhausted but awake.

And, after a night’s sleep, it seems like a nice dream, even though I have photographic and memory evidence to verify that I heard an acoustic set by Marit Larsen, met Marit Larsen, sat and chatted a little with Marit Larsen, and took a couple of photos with my arm around Marit Larsen. It’s a bit strange that I don’t have an actual review to write, because everything I’ve ever written about her to this point is pretty much what I experienced. It may seem like the easy way out, but I think of it as avoiding redundancy. She was everything I’ve written before: enthusiastic, natural, self-aware, charming, open-hearted, and her voice was so on point, it was wonderful, especially for someone who only performed a 30-minute opening set. It’s crazy to think that I partially flew across the country for that, but it was completely worth it. Actually, one thing that I’ve never been able to put my finger on about why she has struggled to break in to this country, Marit put it quite succinctly (I think she was quoting or paraphrasing someone): too commercial to be indie, and too indie to be commercial. I can definitely see that, it alludes to what I’ve written about her, and part of why I like her, is that she’s neither nor, she’s Marit. I actually told her that and a few things I’ve always written, while talking with her a couple of minutes while she graciously signed all three album covers I brought. I guess it helps set people’s brains at ease to categorize something as one or the other, as most can’t be bothered with the gray, the multi-faceted, the things that don’t classify easily, whether you’re a mainstream or indie type. Oh yeah, the set list:

Recent Illusion
Have You Ever
Keeper Of The Keys
I Can’t Love You Anymore
Don’t Save Me
Steal My Heart
Ten Steps
If A Song Could Get Me You

It was a surprising mix, most of the songs usually come from the new album, and she actually got that out of the way with songs 2-4, which is not at all a complaint. This being her first solo tour here, which I didn’t know, she initially remarked how nice it was be playing a room of strangers, because “none of the people who are in my songs are in the audience,” upon which she regaled us about a recent show where the opposite was true, and he brought his girl along.  “Steal My Heart” specifically provided a good time, Marit introducing it as a song that proves that music can get you what you want, in this case, getting someone to make up his mind. A nice moment of self-awareness was had near the end of the song, when she followed the last utterance of “the love that we made is a razor blade” with a spoken aside of “whatever that means.” (We loved it!) After it was done, she added a confessional post-script: “he made up his mind, and I changed mine.” She charmed the hell out of everyone, much to my non-surprise. It’s not even one of my favorite songs and it’s one my most memorable moments of her set! Then again, the whole show was my favorite moment. Everything I like about her vocals on record was present live, even the “chk-a-ch” moment in “Recent Illusion”. Actually, during “Don’t Save Me”, I was going to yell out the “don’t you dare leave me here, I’ll go looking elsewhere!” part, but she hummed over it. I thought she was just adding a bar or two, as musicians often do in live performances, but she then continued on with the song! She later told me that she feels silly yelling that out by herself, except I was totally going to. Damn, talk about a missed opportunity. If only she’d known then I was ready to back her up. Of course, it’s all much more visceral when you hear it in person. During the show, I was in constant disbelief about the fact that this angel is singing no more than eight feet away from me. Even the guys sitting at my table admitted as much afterwards, that as pretty and delicate as her voice is, there is strength to it.

Now, I do NOT get starstruck normally, I almost never do. Artist and performers are normal people, they just have a different profession. I’ve been to shows of musicians I admire, and the only time I was a little overwhelmed was meeting and briefly speaking with Yuki after the Asobi Seksu show in Portland last year, and meeting Dr. Frank at a book signing in 2006 in Seattle where I looked like such a geeky weiner posing with him (he also looked exhausted, or annoyed), that I immediately deleted the photo. I’ve been excited to see a show, but I’ve never been nervous. Near the end of Teitur’s set, I actually started to feel ill from the anxiety of meeting her after the show. I really am composed, and yet, afterwards, I was telling others to go ahead of me so I could compose myself and stop shaking, hopefully. It’s weird, I wouldn’t call myself superfan by any means, so it was terribly pathetic and inexplicable, this reaction by my nervous system. All of this I told her, of course. But, she was incredibly gracious, signed all three album covers, and seemed genuinely touched. I told her how when I hear her music, I get a feeling of who she really is, without fronts, and she responded about how rare that is, and how she feels the same thing, having grown up in a very musical household. It was a nice moment. It wasn’t all gushing, I asked her about touring and music and such too. I actually felt I seemed like a normal person. I hope I didn’t make her too uncomfortable, I was only trying to compliment her and make her feel like a rock n’ roll star, like she jokes about sometimes. (She got the audience to play along with this fantasy when she played “Don’t Save Me”, and we happily obliged.) Oh, and the cookies. The day before, I made cookies with the nephews, little dolphins, sharks, and whales with the basic lime icing, like I made a few weeks ago. There were a lot left over, so rather than eat them on my bus trip, I thought I’d wrap them up and give them to Marit to share.

cookies for marit

I was completely embarrassed, but she seemed genuinely moved, even though some got broken. I hope they were good!

These first two were taken with my dinky little camera phone. Not great, but it’s got Marit, there’s no way it can’t succeed:
me and marit! 3

This second one is blurry, someone distracted her, but who cares, it’s got me and Marit in it!
me and marit! 2

But, thankfully, a fellow fan who’d seen her a couple of weeks prior offered to take our photo with his much nicer camera, then he emailed it to me immediately. Terribly decent and upstanding of you, stranger and fellow fan. Endless thanks to you.
me and marit! 1

I don’t think I looked too dumb, I was able to compose myself. At least I didn’t have a silly grin. And by the way, these photos don’t do her justice. She’s far more lovely in person.

Finally, after my meeting with Marit, I left the club went out onto the street (then ran back to get my leftovers I left on a table), I was wondering what the hell I was going to do with the rest of my trip. I was fulfilled, my trip was a terribly rousing success. I could’ve gone home then. But I still have all of Sunday, and Monday morning, to go.

I saw Marit perform. I met and spoke with Marit. Wow.

  1. Hey Sam!

    You gotta get better at reading through the entirety of your email messages!


    “It was nice to have met a few fellow fans last night, and I’m glad you got a chance to have some one-on-one time with her. She’s probably the most down to earth musician I’ve ever met. I think anybody who could tell how excited you were would have known how much you’d want to have a good quality pic with her. I was happy to help.

    That said, I’m charging 50 dollars via paypal and I expect reimbursement ASAP.

    LOL Just kidding! I crack me up!”


    I was joking about wanting you to pay me for the photo. L-O-Frickin-L, dude. I took a snap of you two with an iPhone 4S. It’s not like you were in a studio or anything! I’m happy to help out a fan of Marit’s. Free of charge. I’m really glad you had the opportunity to meet her and hope you can have more.

    Keep your money! What kinda jerkass would I be to charge you for something like that when I’m not even affiliated with Marit or her label? I was 100% joking about you paying me.

    Also, you don’t have to call me something akin to “mysterious stranger”, as my name’s Kyle James and this isn’t Fallout 3 (gamer humor). Anyway, I think I’m fairly well known within the fan community. Aside from that, I’m a partner on YouTube where I have about 4000 subscribers

    If you really want to “pay” me back, just check out my youtube channel and let me know if you like any of the stuff I’ve made there, and consider commenting and subscribing:

    If you send me money, I will send it right back! It was nice to have met you and to help you out!


    • Don’t worry, I’m not that dense, ha. It was a dry, semi-serious expression of gratitude. Also, I don’t typically like to name drop, out of respect for others and for my own personal life. But it would appear that we can all call you Kyle now.

      Anyway, pleased to have met you….. Fallout!

      • Whoops, bad syntax. The offer was semi-serious, the expression was 100% serious. I’m not really a jerk, I’m just clueless.

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