All photos by Noah Silvestry | silvestography.tumblr.com
American indie duo She & Him made a stop at Philadelphia’s Mann Center for the Performing Arts as a part of their tour supporting their 4th studio album, Volume 3, released this past May. The unlikely duo of Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward was accompanied by a full live band, and performed not only songs from their 3 volumes of original music, but covers of a variety of artists including Frank Sinatra, Sonny West and Chuck Berry, as well as some of M. Ward’s own music. The fusion of Deschanel’s rich vocals and Ward’s airy guitar embellishments come together rather nicely onstage, possibly even more so than on their recordings.
Notably off their new record, fans enjoyed tracks such as “I’ve Got Your Number, Son”, “Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me” (Mel Carter cover), “Never Wanted Your Love” and “I Could’ve Been Your Girl”. These more recognizable tunes (“This is Not a Test” included) certainly made for the show’s highlights, but the group struggled to sound quite as poised on their more obscure songs. This, in large part, explained the seeming trend of fans leaving not midway into their performance, diminishing an already small crowd.
Zooey Deschanel’s songwriting combines well with a voice that is, at times, truly excellent, and M. Ward’s knack for arranging and producing a song. It makes for an interesting pitch, but was ultimately a tough sell. The ability to captivate an audience was certainly there, yet fleeting, begging the question of whether or not She & Him can consistently deliver the results one would expect given their collective talent.
Joining She & Him was Scottish indie pop band, Camera Obscura who, in my book, stole the show. Not only was their mix better, but their sound was altogether tighter and more self-assured. Coincidentally, Camera Obscura has been produced by fellow Glaswegian Stuart Murdoch, a founding member of Belle & Sebastian, who you can catch performing at the Skyline Stage at The Mann this evening.