Opening for She & Him (QRO photos), one of the few good celebrity music acts out there in actress Zooey Deschanel (Elf, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford) & celebrated singer/songwriter M. Ward, Ola Podrida’s softer indie-country certainly fit the bill, but had to struggle sometimes to overcome the chattering crowd. But the Brooklyn ban let their beauty shine through on Tuesday, April 22nd.
Sticking mostly to pieces off their 2007 self-titled debut (QRO review), Podrida started off with the pressing and fun “Lost and Found”, a wise choice to win over the crowd at the beginning with its wry, winning tone. Ola Podrida opener “The New Science” followed, and while as sweet and touching as on record, it was perhaps a little too quiet that early in the set. But then came the wistful and wonderful “Photo Booth”; the enchanting piece carried its sounds to the rafters.
Ola Podrida playing “Photo Booth” live at Webster Hall in New York, NY on April 22nd, 2008:
After a couple of more country-rockin’ unfamiliar numbers, Ola Podrida hit up the moving “Jordanna”, but some of the power of the stripped piece was lost in the cavernous Hall. Luckily, “A Day at the Beach” was just relaxed enough for that late April day (perhaps the first really beautiful day in New York this year). And the band ended with Ola Podrida’s best track, “Cindy”. The driving quiet first portion of the song managed to overcome the setting, and when it grew big, its power exploded in the large venue.
In many ways, Ola Podrida lucked into playing Webster Hall (QRO venue review), the largest indie-rock venue in New York before the gi-normous Terminal 5 (QRO venue review). They were a late add as opener to the second of She & Him’s two nights in New York (one of the act’s few shows anywhere – apparently, Podrida singer/guitarist David Wingo worked on a film set with Deschanel back in the day…). Then Deschanel’s voice gave out on Monday, forcing She & Him to scratch that show – and move the Tuesday one from the 500-person Hiro Ballroom (QRO venue review) to the 1,400-person Webster. However, Podrida’s sound might have played better in the smaller Hiro (especially without the disgruntled indie-kids that were bumped from Monday to Tuesday, and Hiro’s excellent sound system). But, instead the band got to reach out and touch a much larger group of folks, and touch them Ola Podrida did.