Land of Talk – Live in 2024

In the alt-music world, some artists are like old friends that you’ve known for years....
Land of Talk
Land of Talk

In the alt-music world, some artists are like old friends that you’ve known for years. They’ve not gotten so big as to be remote, yet they’re still around when so many others aren’t, and you love them for that & more. Whenever they come to town you pretty much have to go see them, even if you’ve seen them a hundred times before, as you know you’ll love the show. Such was the case when Elizabeth Powell’s Land of Talk came down from Montreal to Brooklyn’s Elsewhere on Monday, April 8th.

Playing the smaller ground floor ‘Zone One’ room (QRO venue review), it was an intimate affair for an intimate artist. No big light shows, no chest-rattling bass, just a stage, a bar, and a floor for the fans. But these fans knew their artist, knew to be quiet during the quiet songs, and to rock out for the rocking ones. Indeed, one guy in the audience seemingly tried to manifest Land of Talk to play old classic “It’s Okay” by singing that opening title line, Powell joking that he must have thought the band would just join in.

Elizabeth Powell

This was a tour behind last year’s Performances (QRO review), yet the only song played from the newest album was the night’s opener, “Your Beautiful Self” – and it was notable that the following old chestnut “Some Are Lakes” (off the 2008 debut full-length of the same name – QRO review) got the bigger response. So, you love the old ones like “Lakes”, closer “The Hate I Won’t Commit” (2010’s Cloak and CipherQRO review), and even “Magnetic Hill” from the 2007 debut EP Applause Cheer Boo Hiss (QRO review). They’ve just had time to become classics – see the also big crowd responses to the three-peat off of 2017’s Life After Youth (QRO review), “Macabre”, “Yes You Were”, and “Loving” in the middle of the set.

Intimate shows also allow for some great banter, even with artists who traffic in sadness like Powell. After praising opener Hua Li, they said that they did “the opposite of shit-talk,” wondered what that was called, to which a fan yelled out, “Being Canadian!” – the whole band then apologized (of course). Bassist Michael Forestack was particularly funny, joking about the set list always being changed (and being indecipherably written on what looked like rolled out toilet paper), and after asking if anyone had seen his lost engagement ring “in Brooklyn,” joke-admitted it was just a ploy to tell people that he’s taken. “That’s the funniest thing you’ve ever said…” Powell added laughingly.

For far too many alt-acts, when their breakthrough is over and they realize they’re never going to headline stadiums, it’s better to pack it in (and trade in their art for something far more financially stable…). So, it’s just wonderful when old friends are still making music & coming to town, like Land of Talk.

Land of Talk

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