Seattle, WA August 3, 1994 review

by Mklprc

I drove up from Portland to see Milla at the Crocodile Club Wednesday, accompanied by a friend (the woman who turned me back on to Karla Bonoff) who had not heard her until I played the tape in the car on the way (loved it). The other Portlanders could not make it, but the club was filled, filled to bulging with Seattle fans. This time everyone was there to see her, but there were still some rubes who insisted on talking among themselves while she was performing. Some people, I just don't know. I wore my "Stranded in" t-shirt, newly acquired from LoveHounds, and although a couple of people flipped for it, no one from the Net identified themselves to me.

The club
The Crocodile is one of those alternative club/bar/eateries that one finds everywhere. Funky art decorations, pretty good food, horrible room for her kind of music (Rancid Vat, Swervedriver, M99 would be more appropriate). People were smoking like chimneys and the primary club air conditioner had been *turned off* making the interior temperature around 100. Turns out that Milla had asked, during the earlier sound check, that it be shut off, to quiet the noise. Bad idea!

Milla herself
We arrived at 6:30, well early because the 9:00 starting time for the opening band (more on them later) had been kicked up to 10:00, with Milla going on at 11. We parked almost in front and there she is, standing in the street talking to a few fans and her manager (I think--didn't remember his name but he was not in the band itself). She was quite open and friendly, tall and strikingly pretty with light blue-grey eyes and long dark hair. Others have said she looks anorexic; I think not--she is just an example of a true ectomorph (ecto...appropriate, eh?), tall, no hips, skinny legs and arms and a couple of breasts appended to her chest almost as an afterthought. This look is common among models because that is the look that gets the work. To me, she looked sexy as hell in her tight, short t-shirt and low-cut long dress. I couldn't help thinking, but didn't say, "Put some meat on those bones, girl, you're in rock & roll now!" What I did do was give her a printout of some of the postings about her from here (ecto), including one comment about her smoking. She was not familiar with the Net and was very interested in what was going on here. She, and the woman from her record label who was on tour with her, are going to pursue this further. Wouldn't it be great if she got an address and participated? I told her we would love to have her log in now and then. Afterwards, she came out and, with the rest of the band, signed autographs and talked with everyone who stayed around. She would shake hands with everyone who spoke to her, and she has a strong, powerful handshake. No weakness there; she is in excellent shape--definitely no anorexia.

The show
About a third of her songs were from the forthcoming album. I didn't take notes of titles, but she played for just over an hour and her voice was up to the task. There was no indication that her sound had been artificially enhanced for the album. She just sang each song a little differently which is normal for almost anyone's live performance. She looked and sounded great. This was also a good showcase for the rest of her _excellent_ band. She assembled them (she said) over the course of a year, finding two of them busking in Paris. Between songs she commented "I'm going to have to fire my fiddle player. He's too cute...keeps upstaging me!" Good laugh from the audience. She's right; he IS cute (but not my type 8-) ) and can certainly make that bizarre Norweigan instrument dance. He showed some of us afterwards how it plays; the bow hits only five of the 24 strings and the other strings resonate harmonics that are modified with the pressure keys along the neck (forgive me, I forget terms and the numbers are not quite accurate). Fascinating, and difficult to understand; his accent is still very thick and his English is still quite limited. We all got the point, though. One of the other band members kept admonishing him to put it away. "We are always telling him that; but *you people* keep distracting him!" This was said in a non-hostile manner (visualize a smiley). At the end of her set, keyboarder Rupert Hine (I think) told us that they would forgo the traditional walking off and coming back on for the encore; they would perform two more songs. Everybody cheered. "You're sure now; we wouldn't want to inconvenience anybody," he said. More and louder cheers. They closed with "You Did It All Before" and "In A Glade."

Starting in a few weeks, she will be touring with the Crash Test Dummies. If you have not heard them, they are a very unusual-sounding band and I think that their fans will appreciate her. This is a definite plus for her career. Neal told me that the opening act, Somebody's Daughter, was terrible; I should bring a book, or a Walkman, to get me through their set. Well, they are not that bad, Neal; but they aren't very good, either. Only two played; the woman who is the title and her accompanyist, so we got an accoustic set. (Accoustic in the sense that they were singing into mikes and playing electric guitars, but you get the idea.) She has the voice for professional singing, she can play guitar, she seems to have everything but interesting songs. Not bad, but not good either. There was no THERE there. Only one song stood out, even slightly. She should find a new writer, someone with talent. They are so ordinary they will probably be a moderate success on commercial top-40 radio. Just the kind of thing music directors love. All in all, hot and smoky as the club was, it made the show a very intimate, if crowded, experience. She will not be so accessible in the future. If you have a chance to see her before superstardom, go.

(Sorry if I got all the band members' names wrong.)