Saudades is a Portuguese term that has no direct English equivalent, but the feeling it describes can be said to be similar to nostalgia, melancholia, and loss. It tells of someone who is missing, not necessarily gone from the world, nor is it the emotion that comes from heartbreak. Instead, saudades infers a feeling of absentia, that the one you love is not present. The heartache that comes from this absence is the emotion of saudades. This was the emotion immediately apparent when Mazzy Star took the stage Saturday night.
Dotted with candlelight, the band sat about the stage, scattered as it was with instruments, and waited in darkness while a projector shone a series of images on the back wall. Mazzy Star’s music is mellow and melancholic, and the images of galaxies and stars set the tone of the evening, in which the audience was floating hundreds of miles above the planet, listening to the music.
There was a soft stage presence of Hope Sandoval, who has remarked on her nervousness on stage before, which leads to her not really interacting with the audience. In fact, this attitude is beautiful. She has come to sing to us, she has not come to show off her talent, nor has she come to impress us into liking her by joking or connecting with us in any way. The feeling of distance between the listener and Sandoval adds to her allure. We find her more attractive because we simply know nothing about her.
Her softness of presence carries through to her music, which filled the auditorium of the Danforth Music Hall. The sliding, twanginess of David Roback’s guitar brought up the band’s roots in the Paisley Underground movement and folk rock reigned supreme Saturday night.
To leave a concert feeling quiet and subdued is a rare thing. To leave mulling it over, thinking about nostalgic things that were brought up by the power of music alone is even more beautiful. It is remarkable the all-encompassing, over-powering effects of music on the mind and the heart, and if Mazzy Star sets out to even attempt to do this, they do so fully and completely.
Emily Fox |