Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Hopscotch 2014 Night 3: Alexandra Sauser-Monnig, Ava Luna

All photos by Chris Powers
When examining the schedule, there didn’t seem to be a better venue/singer fit than Alexandra Sauser-Monnig and Fletcher Opera Theater. Sauser-Monnig’s delicate voice and the quiet of Fletcher’s seated space were made for each other. 

Sauser-Monnig is an incredible talent. Her singing was beautiful as expected and when she sings completely unaccompanied it’s truly impressive. While Fletcher feels intimate, standing on stage in the silence with nothing to carry you but your voice requires no small amount of bravery.

That said, her set was marred by her unpreparedness. Several false starts, redoes, and missed chords made the audience impatient. After the first false start, fans were encouraging, but Sauser-Monnig’s “aww shucks” attitude didn’t buy her much relief after that. 

Back up at Tir Na Nog, Ava Luna was an example of a band in the wrong venue. Tir Na Nog was packed, but half of the outer crowd seemed more interested in the college football games on the TVs.

Ava Luna’s music is reminiscent of The Dirty Projectors in that it use space to its advantage. When they’re silences are filled with “C’mon Heels!” the appeal of the band gets lost. 

In a room like the Contemporary Art Museum, Ava Luna would have killed. Even in a bar that was more music venue and less restaurant like the Pour House next door, they would have a chance. Unfortunately, the Brooklyn band had to battle what’s consistently been one of my least favorite venues at Hopscotch over the entire five years of the festival.

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