Karen Elson Live at Le Poisson Rouge

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Last night I braved the torrential rain storm to see model and musician Karen Elson’s first NYC show at Le Poisson Rouge. Karen’s first solo show just took place this past week at SXSW in Austin, so I feel extraordinarily lucky I was able to catch her sold out debut performance in New York City.

Le Poisson Rouge was the perfect venue for the occasion. Small and intimate, but still arranged in a way that all guests can comfortably watch the show. I arrived early enough to snag a front row seat (at a table with a handful of strangers). I was especially glad I was early after watching dozens of guests, including a few people I recognized like Liz from White Lightning, and Mr. Mickey from PAPER Magazine arrive too late to find seating. Not with out seats: Grace Coddington with beau Didier Malige, and half a dozen other VOGUE staffers with front row center seats reserved just for them, there to support their friend.

Total side note, but Grace, who was sitting about 10 feet directly in front of me, kept making eye contact with me. (Which made me totally giddy.) At one point, she was  right behind me talking to a friend. Grace remarked how skinny her friend looked, to which the woman replied “no fat, no dairy, no sugar.” Grace immediately responded with “fat, dairy, sugar” while patting her stomach. Just another reason I love this amazing woman.

Once the show started, I had the perfect vantage point for both watching, and taking photos.

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Not surprisingly, Karen seemed a wee bit nervous on stage. But once she began to sing, all signs of nerves disappeared. And boy, the woman can sing! Sounding like the lovechild of Patsy Cline and a modern singer like Jenny Lewis, Karen belted out over a dozen songs for a completely enthralled audience. Even more beautiful in person, Karen also possesses one of the cutest speaking voices I’ve ever heard–a sweet sounding British accent watered down with a bit of American twang. But her voice isn’t her only gift: she’s an extremely talented songwriter with a penchant for great “story telling” songs reminiscent of Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, and Simon and Garfunkle.

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The set list was as follows:

Pretty Babies
Stolen Roses
Cruel Summer
100 Years
Last Laugh
Mouths to Feed

Milk & Honey
The Ghost Who Walks

I ended up filming the final song of the night:
(FYI it’s HD so it won’t be fully processed until a few hours from now.)

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Karen Elson,The Greyest Ghost
Karen’s debut album, is set to be released May 25th by Third Man/XL Records. For more info check out her web site. If you sign up for the mailing list, you receive a free mp3 of “The Ghost Who Walks”! No word yet on when Karen will be back in NYC, but I’ll be anxiously awaiting another chance to see her live!

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See the full photo set here.

All Photos and Content ®2010 RS/The Greyest Ghost