I planned to see Marnie Stern on Tuesday night but she went on way too late. Luckily, on Wednesday morning I discovered she was doing a free show at Waterloo Records. The past few weeks have been dedicated listening to her new album, This Is It and I Am It and You Are It and So Is That and He Is It and She Is It and It Is It and That Is That (suck on that Fiona Apple). I'm not sure how to describe her music. It's not metal. It's not prog, math rock, or indie rock and it's not punk or hardcore either. Let's just call it experimental and leave it at that.
She plays guitar using a cool finger-tapping style that produces a frenetic sound. It's often an odd juxtaposition to her high voice (more prominent when she talks than in her singing). Normally I chalk up excessive guitar solos/shredding to egocentric musical masturbation. That's not the case with Marnie though. The songs aren't all about her guitar playing. They're complicated and give equal weight to the mad percussions. I'm not sure who was playing drums but the guy put on a show.
After 20 minutes or so she asked one of the employees if she could keep going. They ended up playing for another 15 minutes or so. Definitely the longest performance I've seen at Waterloo and perhaps the best. It was a refreshing change from the Cold War Kids who were in and out in under 15 minutes.
Finally, Marnie is also a nice, down to earth person. My wife and daughter met her while waiting for me to arrive. My kid is mesmerized by dogs and Marnie was very kind in letting Mia meet her little dog, Fig.