Natalie Prass was on tour with Ryan Adams as his opening act earlier this year. Unfortunately, an airline strike from SAS prevented her from joining him in Copenhagen, but this did not stop Ryan from giving the audience the experience of her music. He came out on stage in a dress and tights, and became his own opening act and alter ego: Natalie Sass.
— Ryan Adams (@TheRyanAdams) March 10, 2015
Five months later, Natalie and her band finally took the stage at Vega. They opened the ball with ‘Your Fool’ followed by ‘Never Over You’. As a live music fan, you worry about whether or not the artist can take their studio recordings and execute them live on stage. However, with her reputation as a live act that has been spreading like wildfire, it was never anyone’s worry. The strings and horns that heavily shaped her album was not present on stage. With two guitars, a bass and a drum set, she turned the delicate timeless songs into a groovy rock show. Next on the agenda was the old song ‘Sand Dunes’, which started to loosen up a crowd who possibly had expected a quiet evening with no dancing. The tempo was taken down a notch by the melancholic ‘Christy’.
There are no compromises with Natalie. The tenderness she emits does not exclude the muscle and control in her performance and proves you do not have to leave behind the brittleness in exchange for strength. With a fast and upbeat cover of ‘Sound of Silence’ she explained “they only rehearsed it once at soundcheck”, we were invited into their band practice with animated energy and smiles all around.
She continued her journey in mesmerizing the crowd with her single ‘Birds of Prey’ and another intimate cover of Janet Jackson’s ‘Any Time Any Place’. She mentioned the Ryan Adams in drag episode and played her own version of ‘Winding Wheel’, with great appreciation from the audience.
From the rollercoaster ride of a new song called ‘Jass’ (“it’s spelled with the z’s backwards”), which left quite a few people puzzled in terms of what genre that song fell in under, the song ‘Violently’ well, violently pulled at our heartstrings, and the theme continued on through ‘My Baby Don’t Understand Me’.
An unexpected highlight was the spoken word ‘Reprise’ that reached deep. The women beside me whispered to her significant other, “Oh my God, do you have tears in your eyes?” which speaks for itself. Whatever comes out of Natalie’s mouth, she means it, and there are no irony or excuses, which is in contrast to her laidback and chatty atmosphere in between the songs.
Natalie Prass is a mysteriously, tall, dark elf queen from something out of Lord Of The Rings, who with a smile and a riff sweeps in and pulls the rug from under your feet — which of course, you do not even realise until she points at the floor. She has got a touch of the old soulful days with a timeless honesty, and with a final encore of a powerful rendition of ‘You Keep Me Hangin’ On’ the audience didn’t even look down once.
The opening act was the local band The Orange Grove, who most of all sounded like they would fit right in cruising down Malibu beach to Trestles in the 70s California, with a couple of early Al Merrick-surfboards tied to the roof of a van. Unashamed inspired by the likes of Grateful Dead, they won the crowd over song by song. The band in the current constellation has only been together for a little over a year, but there was undoubtedly much experience between them displayed in their performance. They released their debut album Stare Into The sun earlier this year, you can watch the video to ‘California Night’ here.
Never Over You
Sound Of Silence (Simon & Garfunkel cover)
Bird of Prey
Any time Any Place (Janet Jackson Cover)
Winding Wheel (Ryan Adams cover)
My Baby Don’t Understand Me
Why Don’t You Believe In Me
You Keep Me Hangin’ On (The Supremes cover)