Following Moses Sumney‘s performance last Wednesday (February 18) at the Electric Owl was the musical prowess of Hundred Waters. All four band members tiptoed onto the pre-fogged stage. They were swallowed in the thickness, and soon seemed to vanish entirely. All but Nicole Miglis [vocals, piano, flute]. Miglis hovered centre-stage, princess in the fur, with a crown of sleek black cornrows, delicately tapping her Dr. Marten’s to the beats.
The entire performance was electric, a mystical and ominous experience.
As I wrote in my show pre:view for these fine folks last week:
They all appear dreamlike, hypnotized by their own musical creations. Each member of the band lived inside such a specific stage persona, each had such a specific way of moving within the music. Each held his/her own rhythm, or cadence and moved accordingly to it. They moved entirely separate from one another, yet somehow swam cohesively together within it.
- Paul Giese [electronics, guitar]
- Nicole Miglis [vocals, piano, flute]
- Zach Tetreault [drums, percussion, trumpet]
- Trayer Tryon [production, electronics, bass]
They’ve certainly got every detail of their act figured out; they know how to set the stage for themselves, fog machines and dizzy lights oozing a range from pastel to neon. Half way through the set, the three men pealed out of the fog all at once, eyes swallowing the fog, blinded by the twisted lights; these men looked delirious and entranced in a gorgeous kind of way.
As the story goes, there is this princess, then there are three suitors wooing and luring her from behind a veil of the thick fog. [This is a story I may have superimposed onto their set, tehehe, but indulge with me, and just imagine.] There’s these three suitors, right, and they’re lovingly and luringly serenading her. She, like the most tame of damsels, sings in echoed reply, batting her tall eyelashes, arching her eyebrows. Her song is so mesmerizing that even she seems spell-bound by it.
She then transforms, and appears [to me] to adopt the likeness of one of Homer’s sirens: head of a bird, body of a woman, voice alluring enough to shipwreck the soberest of sailors. In concept only, she did not physically sprout a bird-head mid set. But these suitors in the fog don’t seem shipwrecked by her singing, rather they seem inspired by it, and inclined to continue producing tunes to hold her voice and electronically harmonize with it. And so they do, and instead of duelling to the death, the three men decide to create a band together, along with their dazzling seabird princess.
Oh, little birdy.
Miglis is tiny and so so potent; her performance is a full-body goose bump. Miglis can’t help but to take centre stage. Even if she were shoved in the far foggy corner, she would still be the centre of the show. She shines. She is as adorable as a field mouse, and as sassy as the cat that hunts it. She is shy and elegant, timid and bold. She herself seems to be entranced under her own spell, mesmerized, staring deep into the lights between songs, as if recharging. Oh, little birdy, coo-coo: I find myself a little smitten by her. With all that elegance and timid charm.
Their performance is peaceful yet dramatic, coy yet demanding. I’m not sure how they pull it off, but it rather dazzling.
And by the end of the show, everyone in the audience is swaying, couples are snogging, friends are snuggling. First kisses ignite, even if it’s only love for the night, love is in the air. Everyone is spell-bound. As am I.
This music is bonding. Superglue my soul.
If you’ve missed their tour, I’d highly recommend catching the next one.
But for now, to see a great live performance, check out their full performance, live on KEXP.