It was hot in Allston’s Great Scott last Saturday night. Very hot. Between temperatures outside reaching 90+ degrees and a large turnout for the night’s headliner, burgeoning folk-blues star William Elliot Whitmore, no one in the venue could escape the stifling heat. The kind of heat that makes foreheads throb and sweat pour.
Perhaps the heat was why opening act Laura Stevenson seemed a bit disheveled and awkward as she quickly moved through her set of indie/ alt-country originals. Maybe Stevenson’s palpable nervousness could have been because, instead of being surrounded by her band The Cans, she played a stripped-down, solo-acoustic show (much akin to Whitmore’s own performances).
What can be taken from the 27-year-old’s set is that, while she has a great guitar style and beautifully delicate voice to match her poetic songs, her stage presence could use some work. Introducing nearly every tune as “depressing” or about dealing with heart ache is, like at a party with new friends, not the best way to introduce ones self. Mixed with a couple of false starts on songs, the show made Stevenson, who also plays keyboards for punk-ska heroes Bomb the Music Industry!, seem more like a relative newcomer to performing rather than the seasoned musician she is.
But I’m going to give Stevenson the benefit of the doubt because it was 500-MILLION DEGREES OUT! That, and the songs seem to be there, even if Stevenson’s nerves weren’t.