The upside-down crosses on the windows of St. Vitus serve as a sort of mission statement for the Greenpoint bar, one that doesn’t quite fit with what singer/songwriter Scout Niblett offers in her music. Indeed, the crowd seemed slightly out-of-place in their surroundings, a collection of well-dressed Brooklynites in a venue that normally serves as a haunt for the city’s metalheads. Still, even if she wasn’t the loudest musician on the Friday night bill, Niblett was certainly the most powerful as she unfolded her spare, emotional songs to a rapt audience.
Pulling mostly from her new album, the excellent It’s Up To Emma, Niblett ably replicated the simple arrangements from her recorded output; much of the show consisted of Niblett playing with only a drummer accompanying her. Her powerful single “Gun” roused the already-excited audience, but nothing could really match the power of “Can’t Fool Me Now,” Emma‘s best song which was only made better by an unbelievably powerful vocal performance. Some may have been disappointed by the absence of Niblett’s cover of TLC’s “No Scrubs,” but the show was definitely made better by her decision to let her songs do the talking.
At one point, I overheard two people comparing Scout Niblett to Cat Power. The comparison sort of works, but Niblett’s work strikes me as far more powerful than Chan Marshall, and her live performance only emphasized that.
– Kevin Korber