Live Review: Martha Wainwright, Michael Burrows

8 October 2015 | 3:35 pm | Liz Giuffre

"Martha Wainwright held a packed Basement in her hands."

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In town for a series of Tim and Jeff Buckley tribute shows, Martha Wainwright held a packed Basement in her hands. She's been visiting for the last decade on various projects and family members, but this solo guitar show featuring mostly her own music was just as dynamic as some of the bigger shows in larger rooms.

Supported by Michael Burrows with a solid acoustic set, Wainwright bookend the time with songs by her late mother Kate McGarrigle, teasing us with a promise that the first, I Am A Diamond, might some day form the backbone of a musical that she might play the lead in. The latter, at the end, was McGarrigle's last song, Proserpina - soaring gently in the same way, but with less bloody-minded oomph.

The bulk of the set came from Wainwright's last record, Come Home To Mama (which she hilariously and shamelessly promised to flog in physical form at the merch desk at the end), a set of songs that covered her own time as a new mother and wife. Joking that her husband hated it, she included a number of new songs including an effort to appease his dislike for her sarcastic take on domesticity, including a gorgeous and cheeky ode to their last time in Australia. The set also included a preview of a record of dark lullabies with sister Lucy Wainwright Roche, with Martha's cover of Woody Guthrie's Hobo's Lullaby just the thing for a sultry Friday night.

The new tunes were particularly promising, including one about a lost friend, drawing on Nina Simone's cover of Baltimore, and a gorgeous velvety-y delivery of a Stormy Weather-like tune about a shortening day. In between as Wainwright tuned her guitar up and down she chatted about touring and fallen prime ministers - all charm and great music.

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