MARTHA WAINWRIGHT at El Mocambo, Thursday, March 22. Rating: NNN
A stubbornly chatty rock n' roll bar wasn't exactly the ideal setting to take in Martha Wainwright's rambling folk melodrama.
Although debauchery and drama are self-ascribed hallmarks of her oeuvre, the Montreal-based singer-songwriter seemed overcome by a contemplative mood on this night.
"Shut the fuck up," she snapped at one point, a whiff of irony in her voice.
"This one's about motherhood."
Fortunately Wainwright's vast, swooping vocal range has a way of upping the gain on even the quietest of torchers. Combined with an equally-loud sparkly blazer, cabaret theatrics and aggressively nimble finger-picking, she handily overcame the chatter.
Here she is playing a set at a quieter Sonic Boom Records earlier in the day.