Here we are. We've reached the end of our XX Merge coverage. The final band of the three-band bill Sunday night at Memorial Hall was the classic pop styling of She & Him. Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward took the stage with a four-member backing band including Becky Stark of Lavender Diamond on backing vocals (we recently covered her on The Decemberists' tour).
The set featured songs from the group's debut album released last year titled Volume One (voted the best album of 2008 by Paste). The set started slow, with some of the slower songs from the album including "Black Hole" and "Change is Hard."
Ward and Deschanel played a few songs in the middle of the set as a duo including their cover of "You Really Got a Hold On Me" from the album as well as a superb version of Joni Mitchell's "You Turn Me On I'm a Radio." Check out a video of the performance here.
Two new songs made their way into the set as well. I don't have titles for the songs, but if they are a sign of things to come on Volume Two, it will have a little less of that old school, Patsy Cline country feel.
They kicked things up a notch in the last portion of the set with a speedy version of "Why Do You Let Me Stay Here?," "This is Not a Test" and "Sweet Darlin'." Deschanel encouraged the crowd to get up and dance, and many did, spilling into the aisles and getting the bulk of the crowd on their feet.
After leaving the stage briefly, the band returned stage for an encore including Sam Cooke's "Bring It On Home To Me," M. Ward's "Magic Trick" and a stellar version of Screamin' Jay Hawkins' song "You Put a Spell on Me." Deschanel showed off her pipes on the tune by belting out and holding some long notes, letting everyone there know that she's the real deal. She sounded great all night and has gotten much more confident since her show at the Cat's Cradle last July.
Check out the complete She & Him set list below. This wraps up our coverage of XX Merge. I hope you've enjoyed our coverage because we certainly enjoyed bringing it to you. Now we have to wait five more years for the XXV Merge. We're already counting the days.
She & Him set list:
Change is Hard
I Was Made For You
You Really Got a Hold On Me
You Turn Me On I'm a Radio (Joni Mitchell cover)
Take It Back
I Though I Saw Your Face Today
Why Do You Let Me Stay Here?
This is Not a Test
Bring It On Home To Me
I Put a Spell On You
[all photos by Kevin Norris]