By Shereen Siewert
Part of The Grand Theater’s 10×10 series, Kristin Diable took to the stage Friday, Jan. 20 with a drummer and a pianist, delivering one of the best shows of the year to a depressingly scant crowd.
Diable’s voice is reminiscent at times of Amy Winehouse; at other times she sounds more like a cross between Lucinda Williams and Stevie Nicks. The result is mesmerizing: a concert that could have gone on pleasing the small crowd for hours.
Pre-show publicity was sparse, to put it kindly. Fans said they had a difficult time finding any local information about Diable, and a “highlight” in a local publication led them to believe they’d be seeing a country star perform, ala Patsy Cline. But this was no Patsy Cline that took the stage (no disrespect intended.) This was a powerful performance of bluesy rock that was at times hard-hitting and at others breathtakingly poignant.
From the gospel notes of “True Devotion”, written in Morocco during a Ramadan sunset, to the wistful universal waters flowing through “Deepest Blue,” Diable weaves a dense, bewitching net. The idea of embracing the infinite unknown and finding freedom, clarity through the trials we experience along our journey as human beings is explored in songs like the lead single, “I’ll Make Time for You”, and “Eyes to the Horizon.”
Throughout the performance, Diable engaged her audience with funny anecdotes and liner notes, which made each song all the more meaningful. The only thing missing was an adoring crowd. That’s thanks in large part to the lack of marketing to familiarize the public with Diable’s work pre-concert, which speaks volumes about how seriously event organizers are taking the series.
And that is truly unfortunate.