Arts and CultureLooking For Arts & Culture Exclusives? Get Your Cheeky Card!
“What a beautiful night to be playing outside,” exclaimed singer/songwriter Michelle Branch after kicking off her set with “Everywhere” at Chicago’s Charter One Pavilion. “This is my first time playing here.” The 27-year-old guitarist revisited all of her old hits from years ago while introducing fans to new material from her upcoming album West Coast Time, to be released in September.
“Breathe” was the only tune featuring Branch sans guitar. A little less “rock star,” a little more “pop star.” In fact, Branch’s entire repertoire was given a slight makeover, with each song sounding a tad mellow and laid back compared to the originals’ harder, faster, rockier vibe.
Not to say the girl has lost her edge. What musical direction Branch heads in should not matter as long as she continues to craft great songs, stay on pitch and play an instrument. “Loud Music” gave the audience a taste of what’s to come on Branch’s forthcoming solo record. The tune is typical Michelle Branch. Simple, three-word chorus be damned. It’s catchy, okay?!
“We shot the video for this next song right here in Chicago,” explained Branch. “Everybody in the neighborhood figured out what we were doing and it turned into this block party of sorts. I thought, ‘Can we shoot every video in Chicago?’ The first thing they do is bring you food and booze!” The song behind the story is “The Game of Love,” which Branch proceeded to perform with her band. Sadly, no Santana guest appearance. Drats!
“I’m still getting used to playing this song by myself,” admitted Branch. “Is it okay if I play a song by The Wreckers?” Well, it’s not as if the crowd’s opinion matters. The Arizona native was always going to toss in a little country with “Leave the Pieces.”
“That’s Teddy, my baby daddy,” said Branch as she pointed to a tall lanky man standing behind her. “Teddy is my husband and bass player. He has no choice; he has to be in my band,” joked Branch. “Believe me, he’s tried to quit. Many times.”
“We’ve never played this song for anybody before. You never forget your first time,” Branch conceded before debuting never before heard “For Dear Life,” to be featured on West Coast Time. “I failed to mention that I wrote that song about Teddy, which makes this next one even more awkward because I wrote it about an ex-boyfriend,” explained the guitarist.
“Are You Happy Now?” received the following introduction: “The best thing about being a female singer/songwriter is that your ex-boyfriends can’t listen to the radio anymore.” The third and final piece from Branch’s latest batch of compositions was “Spark.” The songstress then completed her opening set with “All You Wanted,” before exiting the stage to make way for the Goo Goo Dolls.
To read more about Jennifer Boyer and why she is so Cheeky, please click here.