Joanna Newsom/Bowerbirds @ Calvin College, Grand Rapids 3/12/10

By Amrit Singh / March 15, 2010

The Have One On Me support shows started back in Australia, migrating Friday night to our end of the world for a North American kick off show at Calvin College. The set was just ten songs, but of course that spanned 90 minutes because roughly nine-minutes per song is about right for Joanna Newsom’s labyrinth pop madrigals. Mlive.com describes the set as a hushed and sweeping affair, dropping a few tidbits from the 25-minute Q&A with Newsom that followed. For example: she doesn’t like to listen to music while writing and recording, unless that music is Dirty Projectors — clever girl. That’s a fact framed in her recent NYTimes profile that is long, but if you’ve made it through the knotty depths of her recent triple-disc triumph, you can make it through the piece. (An interesting note: Milk-Eyed Mender and Ys sold 200K and 250K albums, respectively. Have One’s week one was somewhere around 7,000. That’s gotta be drag city.) Of course Joanna gives good photo, and so we sent Graeme Flegenheimer to document the night opened by fellow forest-dwellers Bowerbirds. Here’s the evening’s setlist, along with some so-so video if you’re into that sorta thing:

01 “Jackrabbits”
02 “Have One On Me”
03 “Easy”
04 “Inflammatory Writ”
05 “Soft As Chalk”
06 “In California”
07 “The Book Of Right-On”
08 “Emily”
09 “Baby Birch”
10 “Peach, Plum, Pear”
—-
11 “Occident”

The encore: