Nobody gets four encores at an L.A. show. Never happens. Well, almost never.
Imago recording artist Aimee Mann brought the house down at her recent Roxy showcase, promoting “Whatever,” her first disc for the label.
Mann is one of those rare performers whose profile as an artist has grown since leaving her band. The former Til Tuesday vocalist has shed the mantle of “new-wave” stereotypical female singer (c.f. Dale Bozzio, Terri Nunn), and has found a voice of her own.
With a new sound that is somewhere between Alex Chilton and Chrissie Hynde, and a band that rocks, Mann has become an artist to reckon with. During her two-hour set, Mann performed almost all of “Whatever,” kicking off with the very Pretenders-like “Fifty Years After the Fair,” and rolled through a handful of Til Tuesday’s better songs.
Mann has also developed a warmer stage persona, goofing on her own serious sober-sidedness during her stage patter, and revamping her most famous song, “Voices Carry,” as a psychedelic rave-up complete with Kinks quotes and fractured guitar lines that made it worthy of Moby Grape or the Small Faces.
Kudos for the backing band are in order, too. With XTC guitarist Dave Gregory doubling on keys, and former Cavedogs bassist Brian Stevens harmonizing, Mann’s band reached power-pop Valhalla with the kind of ease that most Big Star freaks would kill for. Best of all were the songs when the band’s producer Jon Brion joined them onstage, adding a punky slashing guitar mastery to the proceedings.
Brion also duetted with Mann on “The Christmas Song,” complete with corny jazz chords. An early and welcome gift to L.A.’s music fans.