Concert Review: Zee Avi

Zee Avi's newest album, Ghostbird


By Sarah Pacitti

Zee Avi
UCSD’s The Loft
October 16, 2011

On Sunday October 16, Zee Avi performed at UCSD’s The Loft , marking the final performance of her national tour promoting her newest album, Ghostbird. Soothing, eclectic, powerful and lively, Zee, along with her three band mates made nothing short of beautiful music, using an upright bass, a ukulele, a few guitars,  a triangle, drums,  a tambourine,  a Malaysian sape and…oh yeah, even a kazoo, too.  The very moment Zee entered the stage the crowd went wild, and what a crowd it was…an entirely sold out show, people packed into The Loft from wall to wall.  Now, if you have ever seen Zee Avi you know she is petite, but don’t let her size fool you… her voice and overall presence on stage is amped with spirit, power and lots soul, Her music is as melodic as a lullaby, but is filled with lots of raw emotion and lots of fire.

She started the evening off with one of her older tunes, “Just You and Me” a hit from her past self-titled album. The words were soft and smooth, as she plucked the strings of her ukulele inviting the crowd to chime in with her for the sing-songy refrain. Over and over again, Zee and the band continued to captivate. Her performance of the first released single off of Ghostbird , called “The Book of Morris Johnson”  was happy, fun, spunky, exciting and full of life.

She sang  and danced on stage, at one point transitioning from one of her own tunes directly into an acoustic cover of Foster the People’s “Pumped Up Kicks.” The audience ate this right up, as it was a seamless surprise.  More surprises were well on there way though, as she continued to sing one of her new songs, “Madness,” a song, which, on the album, includes trumpet blares during different parts of the track. However, on tour, Zee made a small tweak, and instead of a trumpeter, she herself buzzed a small kazoo into the microphone. It brightened the faces of many, and brought out a chuckle in most. But, you know what? Zee buzzed into that kazoo and made it work,  really well for that matter. She didn’t hold back, not even once, giving it her all from the very beginning until the very finish and then…into the encore. Zee Avi really knows how to put on a good show,  her music full of life and truly inspirational. Odds are, those San Diego fan who attended her show are probably still humming her tunes, still filled with glee, and maybe, just maybe are out there purchasing kazoos of their very own.