Rachael Yamagata / Bowery Ballroom / Oct. 26, 2004
Take away everything interesting about Fiona Apple except for that smoky voice, and you’ve got Rachael Yamagata. Sure, the girl growls like she’s been a nicotine fiend since birth, but there’s no there there. I admire the fact that she doesn’t like makeup, dresses like she just rolled out of bed and isn’t supermodel-thin, but do we really need another young white girl moaning about bad boys over cookie-cutter adult-alternative arrangements seemingly tailor-made for diehard WXPN listeners? Well, I suppose “we” don’t, but apparently enough yuppies and future yuppies to fill up the Bowery Ballroom do.
The best parts of Tuesday’s sold-out concert had nothing to do with music. In between songs, Rachael rambled on about how smelly her tour bus is and how the boys in her band would go out every night after the show and score groupies, while she would sit around in her pajamas and watch Maid In Manhattan. She also dedicated a song to “all the assholes who fall in love with me and then run off with teenagers—not that I have anything against big-breasted blondes who happen to be sixteen.” But, far and away, the highlight of the evening for me was when, at the beginning of some slow piano lament, this preppy girl standing next to me whispered to her friends, “Ooh, this is the one we’re doing!” and then proceeded to do some sort of interpretive dance routine to the entire song. (Inside joke for Barnard/Columbia people: She must be a member of Orchesis.)