LISA LOEB at Lee's Palace, November 8. Tickets: $27.50-$30. Attendance: 325. Rating: NN
what's happened to all the Lilithfairies now that Queen Sarah M. is focusing on making babies and rereleasing variations of her Surfacing album? Most of them have faded into the woodwork after contributing a track or two to those Women & Songs compilations. If Lisa Loeb is any indication, they've gone east.The cute-as-a-button, bespectacled folkie is set to drop her new CD, Cake And Pie, sometime this month in the land of the rising sun, and a new single is already getting airplay on Japanese radio.
It's unclear when the disc will hit North American shelves (even Loeb was confused). But judging by the turnout for her Thursday-night gig, she's got big sales potential is in this part of the world. The atmosphere at Lee's was more coffeehouse than rock and roll bar -- boys in baseball caps and girls wearing glasses made polite chit-chat, sipped Cape Cods and, as per the MC's request, respected the no smoking signs posted on the walls.
Loeb looked like a Blow Up reject in a pink corduroy jumper straight out of the swingin' 60s as she swung through her show, backed by guitarist Ben Peeler (a founding Maverick and member of the Wallflowers' touring band).
She spiced up the set with quirky and sometimes self-deprecating banter. Fans fawned over funny bits about Solid Gold dancers and Bob Dylan's nasty attitude and met every song, new material and old faves alike, with ecstatic cheers and professions of undying love.
There wasn't much to distinguish the latest songs from their antecedents. Although she credited a plethora of new writing partners (including Dweezil Zappa), Loeb stuck to her tried and true formula of uncomplicated folk-rock ballads.
But now that she's smitten instead of broken-hearted, her songs have gone from mopey angst anthems to sickeningly sweet love songs. Although Peeler fleshed out several numbers with pretty tenor harmonies, slide guitar and banjo, the music hasn't really changed since Loeb was an unsigned nobody with a song on the Reality Bites soundtrack.
Loeb's glasses were always edgier than her tunes.