Kristin Hersh, Cabaret Voltaire, Edinburgh
Tuesday 23 August 2011
"So many memories," reflects Kristin Hersh, leafing through a copy of Paradoxical Undressing, her 2010 memoir, which has formed the basis of this show of the same name both before and after its publication. It's proven a rich vein so far, with her return to Edinburgh yielding two Book Festival appearances – one spoken, one performing – and two more typical gigs such as this at the Edge music festival. These latter events are more Hersh's regular style, rock venue gigs which merge solo song and electric guitar with unconnected spoken word excerpts from the book.
Dressed all in white and sporting short, neat blonde hair, Hersh touched upon many of the book's lighter memories, including the time she got cripplingly drunk while trick or treating and her professor father's unconventional approach to education (she calls him "the Dude", a la The Big Lebowski, and says he "thinks all kids are Buddhist by nature").
Both as a storyteller and a singer, Hersh is blessed with a soothing, seductive purr of a voice, and this format clearly suits her. Although the music was drawn from across a lengthy career, it was those songs by the soon to reform Throwing Muses that earned the biggest cheers, including "Sunray Venus" and the ragged, noisy howl of "Pearl".
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