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Review: She & Him’s Live Performance at Millennium Park

So, back in March when I first listened to the second album from She & Him, I was kind of disappointed. Not disappointed because the band, comprised of actress/singer Zoey Deschanel and composer/performer M. Ward, had let their quality slip, but because I was expecting a little more. I wanted Zoey to cut loose a little and show some growth and I wanted Ward to make a more notable evolution on the album. Volume Two was just ok for me.

Redemption, however, is never far off the horizon for any band, especially one that actually enjoys performing. She & Him have been hopping around the country performing on their way to the big summer festivals, like Bonnaroo, starting June 10th. And, on a beautiful Monday evening at Millennium Park, I sat back and relaxed as Deschanel called for a sound check on her ukulele. Honestly, after days of rainstorms, it was as if Zoey and Ward had demanded the best in Chicago weather for their free concert in the park.

From sound check to the final song, new life was brought to tracks that I had dismissed on Volume Two, such as “Gonna Get Along Without You Now,” and ended up showing off the clear musical chemistry between the two. The laidback sound of Ward’s music and Deschanel’s voice on covers, such as “I Put a Spell On You,” or original tracks, like “In the Sun,” were charged and vibrant renditions. I have seen many a live performance in my day and She & Him definitely have me anticipating their next visit to the Windy City.

If you were on the fence about seeing them at Banaroo because you didn’t know how the lounge blues sound would translate into a live performance, don’t fear because She & Him will deliver. Ultimately, their live performance Monday night, especially a free one given with such spunk, proves their dedication to the music and to their, past and future, fans.

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