REVIEW: Meg Myers takes August Hall to the disco

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Meg Myers

Meg Myers performs at August Hall in San Francisco on Oct. 16, 2018. Photos: Joaquin Cabello.

SAN FRANCISCO — Meg Myers brought her dramatic and enigmatic live show to August Hall for a dazzling Tuesday night performance, her first in the Bay Area in a number of years. Touring in support of her latest album, Take Me to the Disco, Myers played the majority of her new material along with a handful of fan favorites.

Meg Myers took the stage channeling modern alternative meets classic Hollywood, with vintage pin-up shoulder-length curls and tight leopard-print catsuit. She opened with the dark and dramatic “Jealous Sea,” immediately showcasing her range and intensity. Tightly grasping the mic stand, Myers belted out the chorus with an immediacy and urgency that felt like the entire set hinged on each note. She carefully enunciated each syllable and jumped effortlessly between a whispered upper range to a bold and brash scream.

The set continued with the dark sway of “The Death of Me” and into the equally haunting melodies of “Motel,” a song from Myers’ prior album, Sorry. She also played the bass to provide the low end grooves for the driving bounce of  “Done” and stalked the stage for fan-favorite “Sorry,” physically manifesting each rhythm with a mix of precision and manic energy.

Meg Myers

Meg Myers performs at August Hall in San Francisco on Oct. 16, 2018.

Meg Myers channeled the intensity of her lyrics at every moment, reflecting the mood and tone of her material in her performance. At times she looked up and reached to the space above her as though the song’s individual emotion physically manifested before her.

Her sound was rounded out by a stellar band. Flanked by a drummer and a guitarist-keyboardist, Myers’ songs were faithful to the studio originals but with an added energy and urgency that worked well in the live setting. The Nashville-born singer-songwriter flourished most when she was performing. Between songs Myers stayed relatively soft-spoken, saying an occasional few words before keeping her fast pace moving along. At times Myers seemed to downplay her own abilities, quietly assuring the crowd after one song that “everything’s good.”

She  went deep into her early songbook to play “Monster,” before closing out her main set with a barrage of songs from Take Me to the Disco, covering the stylistic gamut of “Funeral,” “Some People” and “I’m Not Sorry.” Myers finished her main set with the stellar “Little Black Death,” a song that stylistically wouldn’t feel out of place on Katy Perry’s Witness. After a break, she returned to the stage by herself to play a pair of ballads, “Constant” and “The Morning After,” which she delivered with a quiet intimacy. On “Constant,” Myers sat in the center of the stage, fingerpicking a slightly distorted electric guitar that she would trade for an acoustic on the latter track. She concluded with a pair of her biggest hits, the dark and sensual “Desire” and “Numb,” her kiss-off to her former record label that’s turned into an empowerment anthem.

Boise singer-songwriter Adam Jones opened up the show with an eclectic mix of indie and alternative rock. Jones’ set dabbled in a wider swath of genres including Americana, stoner rock and experimental grunge, providing a unique counterpoint to Myers performance.

Follow writer Mike DeWald at Twitter.com/mike_dewald. Follow photographer Joaquin Cabello at Instagram.com/joaquinxcabello.

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