Addicted To Noise San Francisco correspondent Clare
Kleinedler attended Aimee Mann's performance at the San Francisco nightclub,
Slim's, the night of Tues., Feb. 20. Here is her report: "You got any tickets?"
asks one shadowy figure to another outside the small San Francisco
"No, man. I can't even get any!" says shadowy figure #2, the
Ticket Scalper. "Man," he continues, "You gotta see Aimee. You just gotta see
No, Mr. Ticket Scalper is not talking about Aimee Spanier, ATN's
managing editor (who, by the way, is a very interesting person who has been
known to draw a crowd or two). He is talking about the other woman who spells
her name with the unconventional i-m-e-e. Ms. Aimee Mann.
Tonight's show at
Slim's is packed and there is not a single ticket left. The "Sold Out" sign on
the door teases, "What part of 'SOLD OUT' don't you understand?" Disappointed
and unamused, the ticketless hang out outside, hoping for a Grateful Dead-esque
As I shove through the dense crowd trying to find some patch of
floor to settle into, I notice something weird. The average age of the crowd is
probably about 30-35-years-old. It's strange because Aimee Mann, for me anyway,
defined the 80's MTV thing with 'Til Tuesday, her band at the time. I remember
being in seventh grade, singin' "Voices Carry" with my school mates as we acted
out the video (actually, we thought Mann was singing "Boys So Scary," but
that's a totally different story). Our first "I am woman, hear me roar"
experience. I expected a reunion of sorts with old chums from that era.
few songs into her set, I get it. This is the new Aimee Mann. And she's
Mann has gone from totally pop to totally folk-rock.
Her songs are smooth and slow, with a bluesy undertone. Her voice is sweet but
strong, and her songwriting, as good as it was before, has definitely
Mann and her band play an incredible set, mostly doing songs from
her current album, I'm With Stupid. The more upbeat tunes like "Long
Shot" and "You Could Make A Killing" have almost a country sound to them, with
Mann strumming like crazy on her acoustic while hoppin' around the tiny stage.
What really showcases her talent are songs like "Amateur," a beautiful, loungy
melody about Mann's on again, off again relationship with writing partner Jon
Brion. Mann's vocals are incredibly tender, and her range allows her to hit the
spine-chilling lows as well as the delicate high notes.
include the record-company-bashing "You're With Stupid Now" and one of my
personal favorites, "Superball." The former deals with the years of struggle
Mann went through dealing with her old record company, which ultimately led to
her disappearance from the public music scene for quite some time. But judging
by the goofy antics of Mann and her band tonight, those days are far behind
her. She looked genuinely happy, performing with renewed fervor. And she looks
great. Decked out in silver jeans and a sheer white bodysuit, Mann doesn't look
a day older than she did back in her MTV diva days.
Mann even treats the
audience to a new version of "Voices Carry," which brought cheers from the
crowd (don't worry, they cheered louder for her new stuff). Mann performs the
song acoustically, slowing down the pace of the old version and adding a few
extra high-pitch howls at the end. What can I say except that it's fucking
The entire show, for the record, is just that. Beautiful.