Nedelle / Conspiracy of Beards
March 30, 2005
Review and Photo by Matthew Thayer
As I stumbled down the steps of the DuNord, a disorienting vision appeared to me from down low. I was tumbling into a Barbary Coast beer hall where men hoist mugs of suds as they sing laments of loves long lost. I wasn't far off or dreaming. The Conspiracy of Beards; a roving troupe of Irish barbs, North Beach beatniks and other assorted bearded friends were on stage... but more on them later.
Tonight belonged to Nedelle and her latest solo album, From the Lion's Mouth, which was released earlier this year on the Kill Rock Star label. Also, this was a night for friends and family. A few printed invitations sat on the merch table. I spoke briefly to Nedelle's Mom and Dad who were comfortably seated by the side of the stage. A semi circle of fans sat in front of them for the entire ten song performance. Nedelle, perched on the edge of her chair, strummed her guitar and we all listened. I can say she sang a new song for her father. She also performed a wonderfully intimate version of Smokey Robinson's “The Hunter Gets Captured By the Game”. The other songs I was not familiar with but they came through with a clear, understated sweetness that had taken over the mood of night. Nedelle's voice was honey dipped and made me smile. Other singers who make me smile are Emmy Lou Harris and Olivia Newton John. I was expecting a soul review and received a set of campfire songs sung to appreciative audience.
The Conspiracy of Beards sing the songs of Leonard Cohen. And the twenty or so bearded fellows added a taste of contrast. Pints in hand, the acappella overload gave the crowd what they asked for as requests peppered them the entire time I was present. I missed the beginning. The group finished the set with the most requested song, "Suzanne". The Beards offered up the party atmosphere for the evening but quickly receded into the night when Nedelle took the stage.