I went to see Rasputina at Double Door in Chicago last night. Melora Creager (the lead cellist/singer/sometimes banjo player) is celebrating the 20th anniversary of her first album, Thanks for the Ether. I say ‘her’ because other band members have been cycled out over the years, but always tend to keep the same aesthetic. But current members include Luis Mojica on piano and beatbox and Polly Panic on the other cello.
This was my second time seeing Rasputina in concert. The first was 11 years ago in St. Louis with two of my best friends, Ashley and Lauren. So, yeah I’ve been a fan for a while. That’s my hipster cred or something. Anyway, I’ve loved Rasputina for a very long time and it’s just fun to rock out to cello music. The themes of the songs are also very whimsical with some morbidity thrown in. And whimsy + macabre shit = sign me UP.
Since it’s the 20th anniversary of Thanks for the Ether, Rasputina played through the entire album for the main set. Melora joked that she couldn’t remember the words to some of the songs since it’s been so long. She had a little iPad stationed to remind her. She tried to get the audience to recite the mini skits on the album since she really couldn’t remember those. But the few slip-ups she did have just added to the silliness and fun. Concerts don’t need to be such serious affairs. People in the audience were even joking with her about it. No one cares how perfect it is, we just want to hear some of our fav songs live.
Some of my favorites from this set were: “Dig Ophelia,” “Transylvanian Concubine,” “My Little Shirtwaist Fire,” “Sister Sleep,” and “Rusty the Skatemaker.”
I was in the front row, leaning against the stage basically in Melora’s line of sight the entire time. I was singing right along with her. And when you’re that close, sometimes you lock eyes and it feels like your own personal concert. It’s part terrifying because they know you exist and part enthralling because they know you exist and can see how much you’re enjoying the experience.
After their main set, they deceived us as all musicians do, pretending they were done — only to come back and perform “Leechwife” with a bang. And a few other favorites from other albums, such as “Gingerbread Coffin,” “Brand New Key,” and “Saline the Salt Lake Queen.”
I also want to note the opening band: Vita and the Woolf. The lead singer/piano player, Jennifer Pague, has SUCH a powerful voice with a crazy-good range. She reminded me a lot of Adele, but better because it was not Adele. (Sorry, Adele fans.)
Anyway, it was such a fun night! Thanks, Bradford, for joining me and experiencing an unknown band to you! My BFFs who came with me 11 years ago (and with whom I met the band) were definitely with me in spirit.
For fun, here is 11 years ago with Rasputina and last night: