Sharon Van Etten
3rd June 2014 (2014-06-03)
Type: Audience master, recorded 4 metres back from the suspended left-hand
Source: Factory-matched pair of Schoeps CCM 41V microphones (DINa mounted) ->
Marantz PMD661 recorder with Oade Concert Mod
(-18 dB gain/44.1 kHz/24 bit WAV)
Lineage: Audacity 2.0.5
* Attenuated some transient peaks in preparation for normalisation.
* Independently normalised channels to 0 dB.
* Applied variable envelope amplification across recording for
consistent listening experience.
* Attenuated individual hand claps throughout the recording.
* Added fades.
* Split tracks.
* Converted to 16 bit.
-> FLAC (compression level 8) [libFLAC 1.3.0 20130526]
Taper: Ian Macdonald (ianmacd)
01. [00:33] [banter]
02. [04:27] Afraid Of Nothing
03. [03:50] Taking Chances
04. [05:10] Tarifa
05. [06:52] Don't Do It
06. [05:41] Give Out
07. [03:45] Nothing Will Change
08. [04:17] Break Me
09. [00:35] [banter]
10. [03:57] Serpents
11. [04:27] You Know Me Well
12. [03:24] [banter/band introduction]
13. [06:41] Your Love Is Killing Me
14. [00:17] [banter]
15. [03:58] Every Time The Sun Comes Up
16. [02:06] [encore break]
17. [01:08] [banter]
18. [03:29] I Love You But I'm Lost
19. [00:30] [banter]
20. [04:41] I Know
Total running time: 69:59
It's been three years since I eagerly overpaid for the opportunity to watch
Sharon Van Etten perform a short supporting set at the Cross-linx festival in
Utrecht. I was caught taping that night, but was fortunate enough to get to
keep the recordings I had made of Efterklang and Van Etten. The only one I
lost was the one of The National that I was forced to abort when the dreaded
tap on the shoulder came.
Van Etten played in the foyer of the Vredenburg that evening. I recall that it
was noisy, because people were handing their coats in at the cloakroom and
ordering drinks at the bar. Even those who stopped at Van Etten's improvised
stage, presumably to hear her music, were obnoxiously chatty and unreceptive
to being shushed by me.
Almost no-one in the Netherlands knew Sharon or her music at the time.
Everyone had come for The National. Relegating her to the foyer sealed her
fate, of course. In doing so, the organisers sent a clear signal that hers was
merely background music and not something that required the listener's respect
No artist, except perhaps a busker who makes the choice himself, deserves to
have to play in the foyer of a venue. I'm sure the organisers would tell me
that there was nowhere else in the building for her to play, but I would
counter that point by saying that they had picked the wrong venue in the first
A year later, I caught Sharon at her own show in the Paradiso's small upstairs
room. That was a much better gig, of course; longer, obviously, but it was
also interesting to see how many fans she'd picked up in the previous twelve
There have been one or two opportunities for me to see her since, but as part
of some one day festival or other, meaning a shorter set. The timing hasn't
been right either, so I've had to pass.
Not so tonight. Sharon is headlining Bitterzoet, ably supported by English
songstress Lyla Foy, and I'm looking forward to seeing her perform again. It's
been too long.
Bitterzoet feels no bigger to me than the Paradiso's Kleine Zaal, but if what
I read on-line can be trusted, its capacity is 50% greater at 380 punters.
There must be close to that number in here this evening, because we're packed
in quite tightly, but the gig hadn't sold out in advance.
Lyla Foy is a pleasing opener. I suspect we'll be hearing more from her in the
next couple of years. I shall reward her performance with a CD purchase on my
Sharon takes to the stage a little later than expected, at 21:30. She's
touring in promotion of her new album, the very recently released 'Are We
There', and obviously has complete faith in it, because 10 of the 13 songs
played this evening are taken from it. In fact, the only song on it that isn't
performed is 'Our Love'.
That leaves room in the set for just 'Don't Do It' from her second album,
'epic', and the duo of 'Give Out' and 'Serpents' from its successor, 'Tramp'.
I hadn't heard any of 'Are We There' prior to coming here this evening, so the
unfamiliarity of the experience isn't a million miles from seeing an unknown
artist perform. The new songs will take a little time to sink in, but
tonight's recording effectively provides an alternative to listening to the
For my money, the show's a little on the short side at 70 minutes. With four
albums to draw from, another ten or so minutes wouldn't have gone amiss; and
she did play a longer set in 2012. In view of the fact that tonight's set is
so heavy on new material, unfamiliar to almost everyone in the audience, I
would have expected her to redress the balance a little towards the end of the
That's the artist's prerogative, of course. After the encore break and the
banter are subtracted, it's barely an hour of music, but it's a good hour.
Better to focus on quality, rather than quantity.
And the recording is a good one to remember the evening by, too. Put on your
headphones and you'll imagine yourself squeezed into the tiny subterranean
sweatbox on the Spuistraat that is Bitterzoet.
As always, samples are included to help you determine whether the recording is
worth your while.