Alana Levandoski with Laura Ricker and VSH at C'est What, January 16. Tickets: $10. Attendance: 105. Rating: NNN Rating: NNN
Alana Levandoski has a certain charm. She's a porcelain-skinned prairie girl - with a sort of vintage, geeky, fresh-scrubbed hotness - clad flapper-lite, with clunky shoes and tits bulging out of a tank top. A Manitoba native, Levandoski opened the evening at C'est What alone onstage with her acoustic guitar and played low-key tunes rooted in country and gospel. Her voice is clear and sweet, with that lovely poignancy that makes a good country vocalist, and a slight case of the whine that seems unavoidable in the genre. Her lyrics are compelling and intricate, leaning toward the narrative.
Unfortunately, I had trouble hearing them because the crowd at C'est What kept yammering right through her set. At least they had the decency to pretend they'd been listening and shut up long enough to applaud at the end of each tune.
While the rudeness was appalling, the problem can also be attributed to Levandoski's lack of experience. She's not exactly a commanding presence, something she'll need to work on in the future. Still, her ability to relay a tale, a skill that is possibly much more difficult to hone, is impressive.
Laura Ricker followed. Though she is adorable and her songcraft, a tad more alt-rock than country, is fine, her lyrics could stand some maturing. They tend toward the more predictable field of love and longing, of which we have enough, unless new additions are particularly brilliant.
Finally VSH , the ones the ladies in the room had obviously been waiting for, took over, launching into a cover of Love The One You're With that set the tone for what was to come, a guitar fest of good old folkie blues Americana - CSNY with a Lilith Fair sensibility. Fine if you like that sort of thing.