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The Weather Station Takes Philadelphia By Storm

By Al Nigrin

originally published: 04/26/2022

The Weather Station Takes Philadelphia By Storm

Photo by Al Nigrin

I finally got to see Tamara Lindeman’s terrific music ensemble The Weather Station at The Music Hall of World Café Live in Philadelphia on Sunday, April 24, 2022 after two postponements due to the pandemic. It was well worth the wait. The Weather Station, a Canadian band, is fronted by Lindeman, and was formed in 2006. The band membership has changed over the years, but for this USA Tour it includes Lindeman on keyboards, guitar and percussion, Ben Whiteley on bass, Will Kidman on electric guitar, Johnny Spence on keyboards, and Kieran Adams on drums.

The Weather Station’s first album, The Line, was self-released in 2009 and was limited to 500 copies. It features a variety of Lindeman's compositions which range from simple acoustic melodies to complex, experimental folk lamentations. Their second album, All Of It Is Mine, produced by fellow multi-talented Canadian musician and poet Daniel Romano in 2011, was heralded by many as one of the most important folk records of the 21st century.

Between 2013 and 2017, The Weather Station produced two more albums and an EP that gradually moved the band out of the acoustic folk domain into a more electric rock-oriented sound. The self-titled fourth album, released in 2017, showed Lindeman’s evolution in her masterful song Thirty. Here she orates about turning 30 years old while also ruminating about life, relationships and freedom. In 2021, her masterpiece and plea with humanity to take on the climate change crisis – Ignorance – finally put Lindeman and The Weather Station on a slew of Top 10/Best of the Year lists. Her single Robber -- an indictment of those in power and those who are complicit – was praised by critic and fans alike. Unfortunately, COVID slowed the band’s momentum but it continues to gain recognition.

The Weather Station Takes Philadelphia By Storm

Photo by Al Nigrin

At the World Café Live gig, I witnessed the band’s greatness. Mostly playing songs from the deluxe version of Ignorance and the band’s brand new album How Is It That I Should Look At The Stars, the show began with the ethereal Stars which Lindeman sang solo while crouching down on the stage floor in very low lighting. Lindeman’s voice is very versatile and moves effortlessly from a quiet whisper to full throated singing. She reminds me at times of Kate Bush and Joni Mitchell who display similar vocal subtleties. The next three songs, all from Ignorance, Wear the World, Loss and Separate,  underscore the weariness and devastation imposed on us by COVID and climate change. After these, Lindeman went back in time for a brief moment playing two cuts from earlier albums You And I (On The Other Side Of The World) off the self-titled fourth album and Way It Is, Way It Could Be from the third album Loyalty.

Lindeman then addressed the audience for the first time and explained that she felt really bad that this concert had to be rescheduled so many times and how COVID has made her, and by default all of us, weary of one another. She talked about the impact of  COVID as an ever-changing process of creating and collapsing walls. She then played a new song on the piano called Magpie which is about a misnamed bird and another song from the new record called Look.  From this point the concert started to rock leaving behind the contemplative songs by focusing more on of the rhythmic cuts from IgnoranceTried to Tell You and Better Now really got the crowd bopping and you could tell the band was enjoying being back on stage after such a long hiatus. Whiteley’s excellent bass playing and Adams’s fantastic drum work really made these songs swing (see the video of these two songs below). There was a brief respite with the lovely song Heart before the band jumped into three of the most popular Ignorance tunes Robber, Atlantic and Parking Lot. Kidman’s excellent lead guitar playing were highlights here. The crowd started to dance in the General Admission section of the intimate space clearly delighted to be there.

The concert concluded with the Ignorance closer Subdivisions. For the encores, the band came out and did a rare duet between Lindeman and Kidman. Just before the last song, Lindeman chided the audience referencing the NBA Playoffs which are being played between her hometown Toronto Raptors and the Philadelphia 76ers. The band ended with the upbeat song Thirty. I look forward to seeing this wonderful band again next time they are in our area. To hear how great they are check out their Bandcamp page where you can listen and buy their music. Also, you can see a video I shot of two of their songs performed live at the show I attended below:

Albert Gabriel Nigrin is an award-winning experimental media artist whose work has been screened on all five continents. He is also a Cinema Studies Lecturer at Rutgers University, and the Executive Director/Curator of the Rutgers Film Co-op/New Jersey Media Arts Center, Inc.

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