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Shannon Wright 

With the Pinetop Seven and Brian Straw. Friday, November 15, at the Beachland Ballroom.

Shannon Wright
  • Shannon Wright
Shannon Wright's as much an actress as a singer, with songs suffused with such drama and intensity that they're best described as "chamber theater." Wright's nimble voice trills, screeches, and shrieks, going from soft and sweet to loud and bullying like antagonistic characters in a melodrama, echoing the music's cabaret quality.

While much less rock-oriented, Wright at times recalls early Throwing Muses at their most aggressive, with surging, shifting tempos and brash, evocative vocals. Wright's lyrics are shaded, hidden, nigh inscrutable, inviting many meanings. Nonetheless, there's an undeniable narrative to her songs, as often conveyed musically as lyrically.

As impressive as her recorded output is, Wright's live shows are even more effective at conveying the theatricality of her music. Here, her mercurial vocals find an audience to connect with, drawing you into her three-penny operas and then bringing them home with performances that register like a guttural blow. This isn't about foot-tapping or even the slow, barely perceptible head nod, but rather the rapt attention accorded a roadside accident victim as we rubberneck past.

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