Movie Star, Musician and Beauty Play Cat’s Cradle
Zooey Deschanel, star of such major motion pictures at AlmostFamous, Elf and The Happening, played with her band She & Him atthe Cat’s Cradle on July 28. (photo by Clay Howard)
by Clay Howard
We all know at least one. That person who is good at pretty much everything they try. And good at a level that makes them money, not just “entertaining your friends” good. Zooey Deschanel is best known for her roles in major motion pictures such as Almost Famous, Elf, The Happening and numerous others. She has established her career by being the everywoman, the cute girl next door that guys would love to date. Perhaps a bit quirkier girl next door, but you get the point. I don’t know anything about Deschanel’s path to movie stardom, but it led directly to me seeing her perform with her band, She & Him, at the Cat’s Cradle on July 28. The band was formed after she met indie artist M Ward while he was covering a Richard and Linda Thompson song for one of Deschanel’s films. Enough background…. My earlier statement about someone who is good at everything should have already tipped you off: The girl can not only act, she can sing and write a great pop song. She & Him: Volume One, the collaborative release from Zoey Deschanel and M Ward, contains 13 tunes that range from ’60s girl-group pop to Tammy Wynette-style ballads to stripped-
down soul. The sold-out show at Cat’s Cradle showed a band fully adept at pulling off this wide range of styles. Perhaps the most surprising thing about the show was the power of Deschanel’s voice. While the CD contains performances that sound like she is holding back, her live performance was sheer energy. The simplicity of her songs, both in statement and arrangement were perfectly complimented by her strong and unpretentious vocals. A few highlights of the show were the singles “Why Do You Let Me Stay Here” and “This Is Not a Test.” I always enjoy watching a band that is having a good time, and during these songs it was obvious that the writer was still enamored of the tunes, bouncing and smiling through the performances. This said, there was honestly not a point that I felt moved to take a break and visit the bar, as is the case with many concerts. The joy of performing is obviously still alive with She & Him. Oh yeah, I generally hate those people who are good at everything. Guess I’ll cut this one a break… until she writes a novel. Then it’s over.
Clay Howard is a contributing writer.