Concert review: She & Him bring folksy fun to the House of Blues

Concert review: She & Him bring folksy fun to the House of Blues

By Charles Ferranti, News Correspondent

Photo by Lana Lagomarsini: Deschanel and Ward performing at the Nateva Music Festival in Oxford, Maine

Any fan of the 2003 Christmas comedy film “Elf” is sure to have already been taken with Zooey Deschanel’s simple charm and playful appeal as the bashful romantic interest, Jovie. Not only was her lively acting ability obvious in the film, but detail-oriented viewers and listeners may have noticed that she had quite the singing voice.

Deschanel and M. Ward, known for his work with bands Monsters of Folk and Bright Eyes, put up a splendid show at the House of Blues on July 1. Their music duo, She & Him, features Deschanel on vocals, piano and ukulele, with Ward on the guitar.

Deschanel’s marriage to Death Cab for Cutie lead singer Ben Gibbard last September may have inspired her indie folk sound that she brings with She & Him. With a voice and musical style reminiscent of 1950s folk rock, the whimsical simplicity of She & Him is easily accessible to a wide listenership, as made clear by the wide spectrum of audience members at the concert — anyone from 20-something hipsters to grey-haired parents.

Deschanel and Ward have cited such influences as the Beach Boys and Ella Fitzgerald. Supported by a 7-piece group, Deschanel samg wearing a shimmering silver dress that — along with her trusty tambourine — complemented the music’s retro feel quite nicely. Her voice, rich and mellow, was the buttery glue that held the largely rhythm-driven instrumentation that backed it.

In keeping with the conversational style of the concert, Deschanel and Ward joked and chatted light-heartedly, and at one point, Deschanel let Ward pick their next tune randomly. The fun sounds and personalities of She & Him befitted a relaxed outdoor show on a pleasant summer day. Indeed, the audience ought to have been lounging back on green grass in a light breeze rather than stuffed into a dark, humid rock club smelling of PBR.

Regardless of the precise location, with hits like “Why Do You Let Me Stay Here?” and “Thieves” from their respective two albums, Volume One and Volume Two, She & Him did not fail to entertain and enthrall. The concert closed with a fantastic rendition of the 1950s classic “Johnny B. Goode” that sent the audience into a nostalgic craze.

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