Suzanne Vega

SXSW Music 2010

Live Shots
Photo by Todd V. Wolfson

Suzanne Vega

St. David's Historic Sanctuary, Wednesday, March 17

The hour was late, but given a gorgeous venue and the ability to draw from a substantial songbook, Suzanne Vega was in high spirits. Appearing with a hat and lace veil combination that didn't last long, one of New York's most exalted singer-songwriters, acoustic guitar in hand, launched into the haunting "Marlene on the Wall" backed by an electric guitar and bass duo. Lamentably, the electric instruments overwhelmed Vega's husky vocals at times, especially on the odd groove "Tombstone." Vega took chances with her material, performing "Left of Center" backed by only a slinky bass line that veered into distortion. She spotlighted the recently released Close-Up: Vol. 1, Love Songs, new acoustic recordings of some best-loved tunes, with "Small Blue Thing" and "Caramel" and in a somber moment dedicated "The Man Who Played God" to the recently deceased Mark Linkous (Sparklehorse). A song they wrote together, it possessed a distinctive pop feel that separated it from her other work. Finishing with the expected hits, "Luka," still a disturbing vision of child abuse, and the dance-along "Tom's Diner," Vega brought the church crowd cheerfully to its feet.

Keep up with all our SXSW coverage at austinchronicle.com/sxsw. Sign up for our South-by-specific newsletter at austinchronicle.com/newsletters/ for news, reviews, and previews delivered to your inbox every day of the Fest. And for the latest Tweets, follow @ChronSXSW.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 36 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
Saturday Interview
Saturday Interview

Kevin Curtin, March 20, 2015

Friday Interviews
Friday Interviews
The Church, Leon Bridges, Best Coast – vintage, meteoric, and sincere.

March 20, 2015

More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
Bright Light Social Hour
Jude Vol. 1 (Record Review)

Alejandra Ramirez, Feb. 8, 2019

Texas Platters
Charlie Faye & the Fayettes
The Whole Shebang (Record Review)

Libby Webster, Feb. 8, 2019

More by Jim Caligiuri
Carrie Elkin’s Life-and-Death Folk
Carrie Elkin’s Life-and-Death Folk
Her father's death and daughter's birth upped the stakes of the singer's finest work

April 14, 2017

SXSW Music Live: Richard Barone Presents Greenwich Village in the Sixties
SXSW Music Live: Richard Barone Presents Greenwich Village in the Sixties
Soft Boys, Youngbloods, Moby Grape, Brian Jones’ grandson, etc.

March 18, 2017

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Suzanne Vega

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle