Anaïs Mitchell’s Young Man in America Tour at the Ruby Lounge
This was my second time on seeing the incredibly charming, Anaïs Mitchell, the first being on her Hadestown tour (if you like music, go and buy this album!), so my expectations were pretty damn high. This time she had a band with her, so I was slightly giddy, hoping for loud and exciting. Plus, I knew the Ruby Lounge was bigger, and usually when the venue is bigger, you expect better. Yet, it was too big for the amount of people who attended. As you’ve noticed, I don’t review bars, but I have to say that the Ruby Lounge was not up to par. I’ve been in worse, but for a singer/songwriter like Anaïs Mitchell, it wasn’t fitting at all. Plus, the floors were sticky, the beer was so-so, and there was a burglar alarm that bounced off the walls every five minutes (irritated the hell out of me).
A guy named Sam Airey, who I’m sure is the forgotten Mumford brother, was supporting with his soft folk. It was…nice. A little one-paced, but nice. To be honest, I was distracted, as my friend and I spotted Anaïs Mitchell moseying through the crowd with a big, glass o’ white. She seemed a little inebriated, but at that time I wasn’t one to judge. Instead, my friend and I were grinning manically, egging each other to go and speak to her. After a couple of minutes of, ‘What shall I say, what shall I say? No, you go first! I daren’t!’, Anaïs had gone. Silly us.
Anaïs arrived with her Young Man band, starting off the show with Ships, the exit track of the album. Anaïs herself has a gorgeous, rich voice that sounds better live than it does on her album (which is saying something!), however it took her a couple of songs to get into the gig. Thankfully, she was in full flow by the time she performed her title track, Young Man in America. This is one of my favourites off the album. How could you not love a song that starts with, “My mother gave a mighty shout/ Opened her legs and let me out”? From then on, the gig was in full swing, and half way through the Young Man band left her to perform a few tracks on her own. This only highlighted how she really didn’t need the band at all, as on her own you couldn’t help but be enthralled by the rawness of her performance. Also, some of the idle chatter that circulated around us seemed to cease at that point in the night. So, when the Young Man band rejoined, you craved for them to leave again.
To top-off the night, she even took requests and, to everyone’s delight, played a few Hadestown numbers. Anaïs Mitchell truly is an underrated talent, who can musically wipe the floor with the majority of female artists in the mainstream today. So, all in all, a great night from a terrific artist…well, all good except that stupid, incessant, burglar alarm.