Concert Reviews

Priscilla Ahn Keeps Concertgoers Intrigued with Quirky Stories and Unique Instruments

With a glass of red wine in one hand and guitar in the other, Priscilla Ahn had the audience at Maxwell’s laughing along during each song introduction Friday night. Whether it was explaining uncomfortable social situations at L.A. house parties in “Wallflower” or prefacing “The Boob Song” by telling the audience, “It’s not about my boobs, don’t worry; it’s about another girl’s boobs,” Priscilla’s hilarious onstage banter heightened curiosity throughout her mellow and relaxing set.

The night included many songs from Priscilla’s recent debut album, A Good Day, as well as a solid cover of Willie Nelson’s “Opportunity to Cry” and some unreleased material. Strong instrumental accompaniment never overpowered her soft, angelic vocals and at times she even harmonized with herself with the help of a loop pedal. Definitely a diverse set, Priscilla’s band was made up of cellist Oli Kraus and bass player Gus Seyfrett, better known as Willoughby, who opened the show, as well as herself on guitar, harmonica, ukulele and kazoo.

Having just over an hour set in Hoboken, Priscilla started off the night with stand-out track “Dream,” which has garnered much attention from being featured on the season finale of Grey’s Anatomy. Growing up in rural Pennsylvania, it only makes sense that many of her songs were linked to nature. She even told the crowd, “It’s always been a dream of mine to live in a tree. I always thought it’d be cool. Some people do it, and that’s cool,” before segueing into a song with the appropriate title, “Living in a Tree.”

Priscilla’s voice is so captivating, it felt as if she was singing a lullaby to the room during her slower songs. The crowd was so still and mesmerized that at times the only sound heard besides the musicians onstage was the click of cameras capturing her performance. While some songs were pretty mellow, others, such as “I Don’t Think So” were a bit more edgy, Priscilla referring to it as her “sassy” song with deeper and darker vocals and a fitting harmonica feature.

Her quirky introductions followed suit with her unique lyrics to each song. On “Astronaut,” a song with musical accompaniment reminiscent to a carnival, she sang “The fish in the sea have many things to tell me/Well what could they be?/I’ll never know/I had to go/Because I don’t associate with fish.” Laughter quickly filled the room.

Last song of her set was low-key “Find My Way Back Home” featuring Priscilla on ukulele. Sounding somewhat like being at a Hawaiian luau with a mix of Bobby McFerrin’s “Don’t Worry, Be Happy,” Priscilla ended the night on a high note. Soon to be joining Willie Nelson on his tour, I couldn’t imagine a more perfect fit.

For more on Priscilla, be sure to check her out on MySpace and if you haven’t yet, you can read an interview I had with her a few months ago by clicking here.

Special thanks to Deana Koulosousas for taking the photos from Friday’s show.

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