In Da Club: Haley Bonar at the 400 Bar

Sulking toward Nirvana

Haley Bonar, now an official Minneapolitan and old enough to partake of the whiskey without legal ramifications, performed for an attentive 400 Bar crowd last Saturday night. In a relaxed set, she showed off her muted but expressive new rhythm section of Adrian Suarez (drums) and Chris Morrissey (bass and spot-on harmony vocals). As usual, Bonar ran the gamut of moods, from seriously gloomy to deeply melancholy. Of course, it's romantic despair. A number of young lovers in the house seemed eager to respond to the world's anguish with actions also effective for propagating the species. I'm not always convinced by Bonar's quiet way of emoting or her boozy, dour narratives, but if talent is rewarded, her songcraft and gorgeous voice will make her some decent money someday. (Historical evidence suggests that talent isn't necessarily rewarded.) Highlights from the gig included the lilting "Drinking Again," played better than it was on 2002's The Size of Planets album, and a short new Emmylou Harris-gets-hitched-to-Elliott Smith tune called "Give It Up," on which Suarez's snare threatened to engulf Bonar's cool electric piano part, while Bonar's atypically sprightly melody and rhythm threatened to move some feet. A cover of "Polly," Nirvana's ham-handed Nevermind drama, was well received.

 
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