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Live Show: Annie

There’s nothing more annoying than when hype isn’t followed by substance. Annie’s debut CD, Anniemal is fantastic, filled with upbeat, uptempo disco beats, breathy vocals with poppy lyrics. When I interviewed her last week, I was taken with her sincerity, her sweet attitude and her excitement about her success and the current buzz surrounding her music.

But when I saw her last night in Chicago, I was fairly underwhelmed. But I have to say the lackluster show can’t be blamed on Annie. The event was set in entirely the wrong venue.

Sonotheque is a long, thin scenester "club" that is not necessarily set up for a live performance — especially for someone with as much indie cred as Annie. Because of the odd setup, she stayed behind the glass walls of the booth instead of hanging on a stage – or even a faux stage. And the sound system was too bass heavy and drowned out her vocals.

Midway through, things started to get better and Annie, ever the cutie-pie singer (who is honestly even more beautiful in person than she is in photos), held her own, told the crowd how excited she was to be in Chicago and kept on singing.

She played the songs everyone wanted to hear, including “Chewing Gum” as well as a new, song called “Wedding,” which they were road testing. But it was a beat-driven, stretched-out “Greatest Hit,” which samples Madonna’s “Everybody,” and a slowed-down, remixed version of the ubiquitous “Heartbeat” that had everyone wanting more of this Norwegian sensation.

I hung out with Annie after the show and she told me that her performance was probably not the best because she only had two hours sleep the night before after a show in New York. She was disappointed she couldn’t spend more time in Chicago but she was heading out to San Francisco around 5 a.m. the next day.

Such is the life of an up-and-coming singer who has to make the rounds, even if she’s only hitting four cities on her first-ever U.S. tour.

Hopefully Annie will get more sleep and have a better soundsystem when she comes back because her music is too good and deserves more.


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