Valerie June Setlist
Oh Pep! Setlist
02/28/17 Austin, TX Paramount Theatre
03/01/17 Houston, TX The Heights Theater
03/02/17 New Orleans, LA Republic NOLA
03/03/17 Birmingham, AL Saturn
03/04/17 Atlanta, GA The Loft
03/05/17 Charleston, SC Charleston Music Hall
03/06/17 Asheville, NC The Orange Peel
03/07/17 Durham, NC Carolina Theatre
03/09/17 Washington, DC Sixth & I Historic
03/10/17 Philadelphia, PA Trocadero Theatre
03/11/17 New York, NY Town Hall
03/16/17 Spicewood, TX Luck, Texas Ranch
05/05/17 Zurich, Switzerland Kaufleuten
06/01/17 Vancouver, BC Fox Cabaret
06/02/17 Seattle, WA The Crocodile
06/03/17 Portland, OR Aladdin Theater
06/05/17 San Francisco, CA Great American
06/07/17 Los Angeles, CA El Rey Theatre
06/08/17 Solana Beach, CA Belly Up Tavern
06/16/17 Ann Arbor, MI The Ark
The argument could be made that the show was so hot, it set off the alarms—
Ahead of upcoming album, The Order of Time (due March 10 on Concord Music Group) Memphis singer-songwriter Valerie June took to the stage at a sold-out Cedar Cultural Center in Minneapolis.
The evening began with a playful and sublime forty-minute set from Melbourne, Australia folk duo, Oh Pep! (aka Pepita Emmerichs and Olivia Hally) who released their debut, Stadium Cake last June on Dualtone Records.
Their blend of harmonic pop (with Hally on guitar and Emmerichs alternating between mandolin, bouzouki and violin) has proved irresistible and is recommended for fans of Indigo Girls and First Aid Kit, with a tender and relaxed sound to their music, the new album recorded in Nova Scotia.
‘Bushwick’, the new album’s opener, was a described as their crack at a rap song, ‘Trouble Now’ was about a turbulent couple that end up in jail yet still get married, and they quipped “here’s another sad song” as ‘Crazy Feels was introduced. “What are you feelings toward math rock”” they asked “….hmmm, mostly indifference”, they noted, chuckling before going into the older ‘Seven Babies’.
Final song off the set was the album’s lead single, ‘Doctor Doctor’ (not to be confused with the UFO or Thompson Twins songs of the same name), which Emmerichs admitted Hally wrote and she didn’t initially like, but came around once the single was released, “I take it back” she confessed, asking the audience to sing along with the "I know what I want and it's not what I need" mantra chorus.
With lighted stars hung from the microphones, the headlining set began as no other—with a short jazz drum solo. The rest of the band would soon take to the stage, alongside the musical melting pot that is Valerie June, dressed in a sequined fire engine red gown for a seventy-two minute set that blended blues, bluegrass, soul, country and Appalachian folk.
The new album was clearly the focus, with nine of the twelve tracks played, including the opening, ‘Man Done Wrong’. The reedy voiced singer conversed immediately with the crowd after the opening song, talking about her 91 year-old grandmother falling before playing ‘The Hour’, the lyric “I was on my way back home, my heart was like a stone” also helping name her previous album.
The new ‘Two Hearts’ was sparse and hollowed, June’s twangy voice accompanied mostly by just an organ, while ‘Shakedown’ was a juke joint toe-tapper, full of sass and swing as June tousled her Medusa-like dreads with each head bob.
After a few opening songs played amongst a dry ice fog, the new ‘Tennessee Time’ found itself with a beeping accompaniment as the venue’s smoke alarms decided to go off mid-song. We’ve seen this before here (it’s clear they are too sensitive for any act's stage fog) but in most cases, the alarms are turned off quickly. Unfortunately and despite the volunteer staff’s valiant efforts, the distracting beeping continued (somewhat later muffled) through the rest of the main set.
June and band, ever the consummate professionals, soldiered on, with the crowd showing extra appreciation in the form of applause which easily rose over the repetitive sound. June would muse on the day’s news that additional planets had been discovered outside the solar system, possibly life-sustainable, saying “I thought, I wonder if that’s where I’m from…I get to come here for a little while” as the audience laughed along.
The new ‘With You’ came to her in a dream she said, part of a mini-set of June playing solo, which also included the standard, ‘Goodnight Irene’ and previous album’s ‘Twined & Twisted’. ‘Workin’ Woman Blues’, sung “for the ladies in the room” closed the main set with its funky bass line, taking the alarm noise thankfully out finally as well.
After hoots and cheers, the band re-emerged for a three song encore, and June sporting stylish sunglasses and beginning with the laid back ‘Somebody to Love’. New tracks ‘Astral Plane’ and ‘Got Soul’ closed the night (the latter evolving into a stomping instrumental jam), with June briefly explaining her means of inspiration and getting to share that inspiration with audiences.
They say where’s there’s smoke, there’s fire, and though the smoke alarms may have been going off, the fire on this night, was the music coming from Valerie June and band.
Valerie June at Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis (22 Feb 2017)