If you were in the Downtown Mall on July 12th, you may have noticed a sea of little black dresses. The wardrobe choice of the female segment of the population arose from the fact that Sara Bareilles made a stop in Charlottesville for her Little Black Dress Tour. Despite the high humidity that evening, a large crowd filled the reserved and lawn seating at the nTelos Wireless Pavilion to see the singer-songwriter.
Bareilles was preceded by two opening acts. Opening acts can often leave you scratching your head or praying for the headliner to come out soon. However, the parties responsible for the booking acts on this tour provided a splendid lineup.
The first performer was none other than Hannah Georgas from Vancouver, Canada. In 2013, Georgas won Pop Recording of the Year at the Western Canadian Music Awards. She led her band on keyboards and guitar. To me, her voice seems to have the lightness of Regina Spektor and an edginess reminiscent of Cat Power’s Chan Marshall. The best song from the indie pop artist was without a doubt, “Enemies”, in which the repetitive keyboard chords leave a bit of a haunting (yet still light) effect in conjunction with her clear vocals. Georgas stayed with her instrument for most of the act, nodding her head in time to the music. She still exuded a wonderful stage presence and warmly thanked audience, sticking around at the merchandise booth to greet old and new fans.
Emily King and her band, comprising the second act, served as a nice counterpoint to that of Hannah Georgas. King covered more ground on the stage with her dancing, sporting a pair of black shades in the beginning. Her dark hair was combed up in an elaborate style, almost calling to mind Gwen Stefani. Notable tuned from her set included “Ever After” and “Distance”. And like Georgas, King stayed to greet fans at the merchandise table.
The third and final act was the headliner herself, Sara Bareilles. One might suspect outfit coordination among the female singers: Georgas wore black, King wore a white top, followed by Bareilles with a black and white dress. In any case, the visual connections would strike color enthusiasts as a nice touch.
Bareilles alternated between vocals only, playing piano, and strumming a guitar. She entertained the audience with jokes and stories between songs. “Again, you know that we’re not actually in New York,” she quipped, after cheers erupted at her first mention of the Big Apple. In spite of a tour bus breakdown and little sleep, Bareilles was still in top form.
Partway through her segment, a pair of bedsheets rolled down from the top of the stage to make the atmosphere “more intimate”. The scenery formed a stark contrast with her next song, a perfect cover of Sia’s “Chandelier”; she even copied the accent. She saved her hits “Brave”, “Love Song”, and “King of Anything” towards the end.
If you haven’t seen Sara Bareilles yet, make it a point to check out her Little Black Dress Tour, which offers an evening lot of fun and pure vocals in 3 acts. Be advised that a couple of songs have profanity, if you’re taking the kids. And don’t forget to wear a black dress, ladies!