Singer Eleanor Friedberger rocks ‘70s vibe at Black Cat

Published in the April 24, 2012 issue of American University’s The Eagle. Found on The Eagle’s website here.

The relaxed Thursday night crowd at the Black Cat was treated to an evening of lovely lady singers in the form of Eleanor Friedberger and Hospitality on April 19.

Brooklyn-based trio Hospitality opened the night, playing tracks off their 2012 debut self-titled album. Highlights include the sassy-and-sweet songs “Friends of Friends,” “The Birthday” and set-closer “All Day Today,” on which the poppy guitar riffs and bouncy bass lines complemented the playful vocals of lead singer Amber Papini.

While Hospitality’s set didn’t lack energy, the band’s performance fell a bit flat. This was impaired by the sound guy’s inability to up the volume on the too-soft vocals, the band didn’t take advantage of their obvious chemistry on stage.

Perhaps Hospitality could learn a thing or two from headliner Eleanor Friedberger; or maybe Friedberger’s mesmerizing stage presence makes all other acts pale in comparison.

One-half of brother-sister duo Fiery Furnaces, Friedberger showcased material from her first solo album “Last Summer,” released, well, last summer, and played new songs she said she plans to record in the coming months.

Live, Friedberger’s laidback sound took on a harder, classic rock edge, which added an energetic ‘70s vibe, complete with a fringe jacket and middle-parted, thick-bangs-ed wavy hair. Songs off “Last Summer” became sexier, more passionate and livelier than the lighter recorded versions.

Friedberger’s previous years of live experience were obvious in her commanding stage presence which mixed intensity and energy all while coming off completely down-to-earth. Only a seasoned performer can seamlessly transition into playing a beautiful acoustic while her phenomenal guitarist, who looked all of age “sweet 16” as Friedberger joked, switched and tuned guitars after a string snapped.


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