Out and About: Marnie Stern
  • FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 30, 2011

  • Posted by: Ed McGarrigle

Amid the usual hustle and bustle of Williamsburg on a Thursday night, there was something that stood out, something that demanded more attention than just the inside of another pub, slinging PBRs. That something, someone for that matter, was Marnie Stern.

My introduction to Marnie was slow. Friends showed me a couple of songs that I resisted at first. It sounded too chaotic, too much packed into such a small place. But Marnie began to grow on me. I embraced the disorganization of her songs, the chaos amid layers of tapping guitar. Her high-pitched whine that irritated me at first became one of my favorite features of her music. I transformed into a fan, and after seeing her perform live last night, I'm going to stay one.

Music Hall of Williamsburg was relatively quiet in the time leading up to Marnie's set. Kids who had "forgotten" their IDs were trying to bribe bouncers to get in. A few faces filled with ennui roamed the bar downstairs. It seemed like no one was there to rock out, to go crazy once the woman of the hour hit the stage. At least that's what I thought...

I was wrong. Once Marnie hit the stage around 11:00, with alcohol coursing through the crowd's collective veins, people were suddenly animated. The crowd swayed together, shouting the words back at the microphone. Marnie was shredding with a constant, charming smile that always graces her face. Her fingers were a blur as she tapped her way up and down the neck of her guitar, never missing a note. Her drummer played with a ferocity and intensity that I haven't seen in a while. In between takes, Marnie and her bassist joked about her three-pack a day habit and her lack of driving skills.

After a quick one song encore, Marnie dropped her guitar and quickly ran backstage, seeming to disappear into the dark, not to re-emerge again that night. Wrong again. By the time it took me to leave the front of the stage, walk back through the doors, and down the stairs to the exit, Marnie was already sitting at her merch table, smiles all around, signing tickets, taking pictures, and selling a t-shirt or two, proving that she is every bit as lovable and charming in person as I hoped she would be. At least I was right about something.

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