Gordi, or if you like real names – Sophie Payten, played a heartfelt show for the Songbyrd crowd.
Packed up close to the stage, the burgeoning concertgoers let Gordi woo them with song after indie pop song, using her rich and deep voice to lament about loss and hopeful redemption. Many of her songs speak to friendships instead of relationships.
From Canowindra, Australia (sort of near Sydney – 300 km is close for Australians, I’m sure), she is promoting her first full length album, Reservoir, which is set to be released on August 25th.
During the first two songs Gordi seated herself before a keyboard, while singing passionately, before breaking out the guitar and moving center stage for “Wanting”, notching up the energy and exclaiming, ‘Once again, I am found wanting’. Well, we didn’t think so. ‘Once again, I am found wanting…you.’
She recorded some of the album in Wisconsin, which got the crowd curious, as someone shouted a bold why. It was one of those moments I couldn’t quite hear, as she had a very soft speaking voice between songs.
She played her first single from Reservoir, “Heaven I Know”, midway through the set. She seemed to use a bit of vocal distortion, maybe for creative reasons, as the song about an ending friendship carried melodically and languidly, precipitating chills in the listeners (I assume). With the addition of the repeated chant of ‘1 2 3’ spoken lightly in the background, the Feist song came to mind.
“On My Side” was the highlight of the show. As you nod to the catchy chorus, you realize it’s an upbeat plea to stay with her, while ignoring anything she says in the heat of the moment. Of course we will.
She wound down the show with a Courtney Barnett cover, “Avant Gardner”, a melancholy and introspective poem to reflect on life as we payed our bills and exited up the Songbyrd stairs.
She played 11 songs overall for the Songbyrd audience, and a few from the album. In fact, I enjoyed when she referred to it as ‘The Album’ with her Australian accent, as in ‘This one’s from The Album’ or ‘Spoiler alert, off The Album’.
Gordi was pleased to be in DC, and it was her first time in the city. Her backing band included a drummer and a keyboardist, while she played both the keyboard and guitar.
She also hung out after the show to generously take photos for those that lingered to speak with her and signed copies of her first EP.
Next time she comes to DC, more people will certainly have discovered her and the venue will sell out!
All the Light We Cannot See
Nothing’s As It Seems
Heaven I Know
So Here We Are
On My Side
Can We Work It Out
Avant Gardener (Courtney Barnett cover)