Friday, 6 November 2015

PREVIEW: Sufjan Stevens: North Charleston Performing Arts Center Mon. Nov. 9

  • Provided
BAROQUE POP | Sufjan Stevens
w/ Gallant
Mon. Nov. 9
7:30 p.m.
North Charleston Performing Arts Center
Ever since his promotional prank of vowing to write an album for every U.S. state, Sufjan Stevens and his enthralling brand of orchestral pop have been treasured by the kinds of listeners who also hold dear Beirut, the Shins, and Arcade Fire. Stevens did complete two of those state albums, though — 2003’s Michigan, an homage to his home state, and Illinois, the 2005 release for which he is best known. The multi-instrumentalist is also loved for his lo-fi folk leanings (Seven Swans, 2004) and Christmas-themed offerings, like 2006’s five-EP box set Songs for Christmas and Silver & Gold: Songs for Christmas, Vols. 6-10 from 2012 (tally ’em up and you have a total of 100 quirky holiday songs that’ll make any indie diehard freakishly excited about Christmas, too). This year, Stevens dropped Carrie & Lowell, a delicate collection of songs that stay true to the artist’s whimsical style without being explosively cheerful. That can be attributed to the fact that this record is named after his stepfather, who co-founded Asthmatic Kitty Records with the musician in 1999, and Stevens’ mother, who left his family when he was very young, dealt with depression, and died of cancer in 2012. The grief and retrospective longing on the record are understandably palpable. This time, Stevens’ quivering vocals are close to a whisper, and the electro-pop fervor is no more, replaced with a soundscape that is still lush and expansive yet achingly poignant — a banjo or ukulele plucking gently throughout each tender melody. Much like the ones that came before, this album is repeat-rotation worthy and certainly creates an argument to drop everything you’re doing on Monday to experience the music for yourself live. This tour comes complete with a dramatic stained-glass window-like light show to place you perfectly in Stevens’ enchanting sanctuary of song. 

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