Tonight we went to Red Poppy Art House in the rainy Mission District to see Charming Hostess play the first show we have seen them perform since the Bowls were taken down a few years back. I had a chorizo burrito at Taco Loco beforehand and dried off a bit at M&M Laundromat in an attempt to wait for the official door opening time for the event.
The first set highlighted Charming Hostess’ recent Gramophones and Dynamo project. The set featured guitar, drums, bass clarinet and harmonium with Jewlia’s vocals. The songs were all letters or stories by women in love with gangsters.
They took a short break and for the second set, they traded away guitars for the vocal styling of Cynthia Taylor. In the second set, they highlighted Charming Hostess’ latest project, The Ginzburg Geography, about a couple of radical Jews in the 1930s in Italy. Most of the second set was in English and some of the songs were quite comical.
Part way through the second set, former Charming Hostess member or FoHo as Jewlia put it, Marika Hughes arrived. She later joined the band for a three vocal performance with Cynthia and Jewlia from an older album, Sarajevo Blues.
After the show we talked briefly with Marika, who used to tour with Vienna Teng and is in town for a show with Alyssa Graham at Hotel Utah tomorrow night. It was a great show that really demonstrated the multi-faceted awesome creations that Jewlia and her fellow musicians create together. Max, the guitarist, likened the fan experience to seeing a reunited Crosby, Stills and Nash when Jewlia, Cynthia and Marika sang together. It was definitely a magic moment worth the trip through the rain.