The Kids In The Hall was the beginning of the end of a devout born-again Pentecostal Christian life for Natalie Mering. After being told that all homosexuals are destined for Hell, she couldn’t imagine that it was the place where Scott Thompson belonged. Shortly after this realization, Mering began writing songs under the moniker Wise Blood. The title of the Flannery O’Connor novel Wise Blood refers to a person with an inborn, innate knowledge of which direction to take without spiritual or emotional guidance. Fitting these pieces of information together leads us to understand a portion of why young Natalie Mering settled so well as Weyes Blood.
The first couple of Weyes Blood albums seemed firmly seated in a classic and freak-folk format, an aural mirror of artists such as Fairport Convention, Vashti Bunyan and the Velvet Underground, or even down the soft rock path adjacent to Karen Carpenter. Where Mering began separating herself from such comparisons first occurred with her 2016 album Front Row Seat to Earth. This year’s Weyes Blood album, Titanic Rising is arguably Mering’s finest yet. Sticking with her vocals as the cornerstone of the band and songs, cinematic multi-act pieces such as Movies and Andromeda have moved Weyes Blood into new categories. For those of us who fell deep into the lush production of the album, some may have questioned how all that Jonathan Rado magic was going to make it to the stage for her shows supporting Titanic Rising.
There was no need for fear as Weyes Blood, the band, proved to be a crack unit that deftly pulled the live songs off. Upfront and alongside Mering was bassist and vocalist Eliana Athayde. Not only did she play spectacular electric and synth bass, but her voice also matched to cover Natalie Mering’s, as would be done in the studio. With a set that was more than half composed of songs from the latest album, it would likely have been difficult any other way. Dipping back to play Diary, Do You Need My Love, Seven Words and Used To Be from Front Row Seat To Earth, the show ended with a delightful cover of Procol Harum’s A Whiter Shade of Pale and a solo performance of In The Beginning from her 2015 EP, Cardamom Times.
The North American tour is over for the year, but Weyes Blood’s European tour starts on Oct. 26 at the Button Factory in Dublin, Ireland.
More details here.