Walking into Joe’s Pub for the Mirah concert, I was not at all surprised to see that the line curling around the entrance was half made up of bespectacled girls holding hands. The politically outspoken folk songstress has long identified as a lesbian and maintained a solid LGBTQ following.
She opened with the jazzy, otherworldly “Luminescence,” softly intermingling her lilting, honeyed voice with her cellist’s precise melodies. The song lent a wistful, refined air to the already romantic, subdued setting. Joe’s Pub is a deceptively divey name for the venue, an elegant room with candlelit tables and a full dinner menu. A few songs from her 2005 LP, a(spera), were played, which were characteristically delicate and executed masterfully by the quartet composed of Mirah’s crystal-clear voice and guitar playing, a viola player, cellist and vibraphonist/drummer. The crowd-pleaser of the night was obviously the simple, uplifting “Monument,” which was met with most of the fans cheering and singing along to the quintessentially Mirah song, complete with righteous, humanistic lyrics “We have a right to insist to be free and brave/If that should cease to exist/I’d throw my heart away.”
Mirah alternated between sweet, uplifting folk melodies and more complexly composed songs. There was only one song that I found questionable, which was an incongruous mashup of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Who’ll Stop The Rain” and Jay Z’s “Empire State Of Mind,” a tribute to her recent move to New York/Hurricane Sandy. I’m totally willing to look past the fact that she sang what I find to be one of the most annoying, ubiquitous songs of 2009 because, well, who isn’t excited to live in NYC? Also, she managed to lull me into a state of folk-rock bliss so sweet that by the end of the night I was considering donating all of my remaining funds to whatever highly politically charged cause she happened to be singing about.