Eric Schackne

Taken By Trees @ Bootleg Theatre – 9/26/2012

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With 3 bundles of sage, drum set with a drum machine/pad and small cymbals, keyboard station with two mini synths and a pedal steel, they’re primed for some unique stage sounds.  The ocean waves reaching shore provide the backbone of the entire set, and a fog machine fills the room up with an easy haze that would remain for the rest of the night.  Burning the sage provides the final element for this mood that seems all too expected with their tye-dyed merch and 12” records.  Taken By Trees consists of three musicians who, save for the drummer, rarely play the same instrument two songs in a row.  Fronted by an adorable fair-skinned brunette in a straight-fitting white linen dress, she delivers an energy of nonchalance, picking just a few moments to move around the stage.

Taken By Trees kicks off their set with “In Other Worlds,” the title track of the album that this show is celebrating.  The projected images of Hawaii, lava, and the ocean cast a dimmed glow on the entire stage.  The echoes of a pedal steel combine with the muted sound of sea waves to pave way for the casual entrance of the bassist.  They put a bit of music in front of the audience before singer Victoria Bergsman enters.  Her eyes are mostly closed at first, and her vocals are much more delicate live than in her recordings.

Bergsman introduces the band after “Watch The Waves” with the confession of a new lineup and this being their first time playing live together.  Oh, and the pedal steel player is now playing bass, and the bassist is now playing a swinging riff on guitar to back up her soft –spoken vocals.  With the candid lyrics “I’m feeling lost and found” she starts to loosen up.  The drummer throws down some island dub that gives the set some movement for the first time, and the gratuitous surf-guitar solo is simple and perfect for the moment.  Another highlight  came with her performance of “Anna” a song written for a dedicated fan that had to leave town mere days before this release show.  At this point the two non-drumming band members are on guitars.

In a moment that comes all too soon, Bergsman announces that they have one song left.  A glass shatters in the back of the venue which inspires her matter of fact response, “Let’s celebrate…tone it down, but make the music louder.”  And so Taken By Trees performs “Dreams,” the single off their new record, Other Worlds.  The crowd attempts to cheer for an encore, but despite lingering sounds of waves crashing, the fog eventually settles and the house music kicks in.  The show is over, but the lingering smell of burnt sage wafting from my clothing reminds me.

SET LIST:  In Other Worlds | Watch The Waves | Lost and Found | I Want You | Summer Sign | Only You | Anna | Dreams

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