Photos: Bedouine & Killjoy String Quartet and Steady Holiday at the Ford

today08/08/2021 3

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Bedouine stirred souls with a cool equanimity Friday night, beckoning the second weekend of the Ford’s reawakening after a year-and-a-half of pandemic lockdown.

Dressed in a majestic, deep red, long-sleeved A-line gown with a brocaded, beaded front and sleeves designed by her brother, Azniv Korkejian and her band (Gus Seyffert on bass, Jason Roberts on guitar, Derek Howa on keys and Josh Adams on drums) were joined by the (hopefully not) one-night-only Killjoy String Quartet, stirring hearts through a journey of love suspended, war, immigration and finding your way through the madness. 

The open-hearted “When You’re Gone” electrified the air as the evening mist rose. The beginning of the set sailed on the folk-romance of 2019’s “Birdsongs of a Killjoy,” with a well-matched cover of JJ Cale’s “Magnolia” (with a subtle tribute to the Grateful Dead’s Jerry Garcia on this week of his birth-death anniversary with an added lyrical reference to “Sugar Magnolia”). The beauty of the live string arrangement on “Bird Gone Wild” sent chills up spines before the set continued its swoon into more serious territory with the war-torn “Summer Cold,” mesmerizing with its twists and turns in melody.

A cover of “an up-and-coming singer named Elton John” provided soulful levity as the set leaned into Bedouine’s 2017 self-titled full-length debut. “Louise,” sung in Armenian, got toes tapping with its funky samba beat before a couple audience members braved being the first to get up and dance in the aisles for “Dusty Eyes” (after the singer-songwriter’s mischievously veiled warning that it “might be illegal so I’ll leave it up to you”). A hummingbird then serendipitously took flight from the audience during “Skyline,” a good omen for the two new songs that followed, “This Machine” and “The Waves.” Bedouine quipped afterwards that “This is a Free Britney convention with some music,” after which a fair number broke out in dance for “One of These Days.” The band levitated from countrified shimmer to rock by the end of the night, with the strings providing the rising tide and Bedouine soaring above it all.  

Steady Holiday opened the night with her groundbreaking third album, “Take the Corners Gently,” released independently this past February, and a couple gems from her dreamy sophomore full-length, “Nobody’s Watching.” Dre Babinski’s deadpan humor was the glue between sparkling songs performed both with her band and solo. From the punchy start with “Sunny in the Making” to just two chords, the honest truth and her electric guitar in “So Long” to the raucous new version of “Love Me When I Go to Sleep” at the triumphant end, the audience was enrapt through Steady Holiday’s confrontations with the meaning of existence and human fallacy all balanced on the most ordinary, simple things once taken for granted.

Bedouine + Killjoy String Quartet setlist: When You’re Gone, Sunshine Sometimes, Magnolia (JJ Cale cover), Bird Gone Wild, Summer Cold, Come Down In Time (Elton John cover), Louise, Solitary Daughter, Dusty Eyes, Nice and Quiet, Skyline, This Machine (new song), The Wave (new song), One of These Days, Mind’s Eye and Dizzy.

Steady Holiday setlist: Sunny In The Making, Tangerine, Nobody’s Watching, Mothers, White Walls, Exactly What It Means, So Long, Living Life and Love Me 2.

Photos and recap by S.Lo

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