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The Daily Tar Heel

Loeb Show Lacks Fireworks of Studio Efforts

Lisa Loeb
Wednesday, Nov. 14

It's too bad that Lisa Loeb is such a ditz.

Although the setlist at the Cat's Cradle performance comfortably fit the audience's sing-along needs, Loeb's personality was a mild disappointment. She came off as very sweet, quite cute and completely unable to pull off the intelligent singer/songwriter thing.

Maybe it's because she spent much of the concert explaining who wrote her songs and what they were about, as if the audience would not be able to understand. Sure, giving credit where credit is due is something that every nice girl should do, but it sometimes becomes excessive.

For Loeb, who is touring in anticipation of the February release of her new album, Cake and Pie, such nonstop attribution merely added to her I'm-the-poster-girl-for-sweet image.

Loeb prefaced her performance of "Snow Day" with a diatribe concerning the song's theme of bad days -- extraneous explanation for a song that begins "It's a bad day ..."

And the in-between-song meandering on fuzzy kittens and how positively cute they are really didn't do much for her image, either.

But, setting aside her cutesy-personality and the monologues, Loeb does have that special something -- not a stage presence, but a familiarity that makes her the focus of a captive audience.

It's the fact that practically every audience member was mouthing the words to "Stay" along with the bespectacled singer and her banjo-playing accompanist. Songs like "Wishing Heart" and "Falling In Love" continue to have that simple appeal when it comes to the concealed sugary, girly side of all of us.

This universal accessibility and sense of I've-heard-this-before made Loeb's ditziness forgivable as an inevitable side-effect of a sweet little girl personality. And this same comfortable, easy feel applied to Loeb's new songs, which she mixed with tunes from Tails and Firecracker throughout the course of the show.

"You Don't Know Me," one of these new ditties, fit easily between favorites like "I Do" and "Wishing Heart." Although thematically off-kilter from past Loeb tunes, being the story of one of the Zappa girls' initial forays into romance, the song definitely had the well-known wistful feel.

Too bad familiarity doesn't breed enough affection to give Loeb a better stage presence or an air of sophistication. But there are always albums to compensate for lacking live performances.

The Arts & Entertainment Editor can be reached at artsdesk@unc.edu.

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