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Weyes Blood @ the Bottleneck: Concert Review

One of Weyes Blood’s final U.S. shows just so happened to be here in Lawrence. Natalie Mering’s performance allowed fans to experience the songs comprising 2019’s best album. 

Weyes Blood kicked off their set with the opener to Titanic Rising, “A Lot’s Gonna Change,” which sounded great despite not having a touring orchestra of violinists. What makes Weyes Blood’s music astonishing isn’t necessarily the instrumentals as much as it is Mering’s clear, church-like, ethereal vocals that sound just as good live as they do on Titanic Rising. 

Vocals aren’t the only strong suit of Natalie’s musical talent, in between tracks she alternated between guitar and keys to accommodate her voice.

The crowd of about 150 people conformed to the stereotype that midwesterners are the nicest people by roaring with applause after each song.  Which is important, considering this was Weyes Blood’s second to last U.S. performance of her tour (not including Media performances) and her first time in LFK.

“This is my first show in Kansas… ever… and I’m really stoked to be here… big fan of the myths of Kansas,” said Natalie after the opening track. Following up by sharing her excitement of contributing the band’s photo to the Bottleneck’s wall of fame. Random talks between her and the audience were prevalent throughout the entire show.

Most of her set came from 2019’s Titanic Rising and a few tracks were from her previous album Front Row Seat to Earth. After ending the set with “Movies” (what I consider to be her best track) the band stepped off for what felt like a minute before returning for an encore.

 I don’t know if the band didn’t want to give off the illusion that there wouldn’t be an encore or if the crowd was just that active (probably the ladder), but the band returned ready to perform three final songs. Natalie noted the younger audience and the setlist had a cover of “Whiter Shade of Pale,” she courteously asked the Zoomers in the crowd if they knew this song and if we didn’t, she’d pick another song we’d all enjoy. 

After the show, a small group of people stuck around hoping Natalie would come out and meet her fans, which she willingly did. To be honest, whatever journalistic integrity I had left was out the door at this point and I was in complete fan-boy mode. I asked for a picture, recorded a sound bite for my Weyes Blood episode of B-Sides (coming soon) said “thank you” a thousand times and left. She was incredibly nice and a lot shorter in person.

The Bottleneck might be my favorite venue in Lawrence for this reason. An accommodating space that really captures the “at home” feeling of the Midwest. Natalie’s talks with the audience would often drift into actual conversations, plus her consideration for changing an encore song to better fit the younger audience made the night feel less like a show and more like a group of 150 people hanging out.