Live Reviews: Susie Suh

St. John’s Episcopal Cathedral  Los Angeles, CA
Contact: Jon Bleicher, Prospect PR, [email protected]
Web: susiesuh.com
Players: Susie Suh, vocals, guitar, crystal bowls, bells; Laurann Woods, violin, keyboard, vocals; Kiara Ana Perico, viola, vocals; Leah Metzler, cello, vocals

Material: To support the release of her latest independent album, Invisible Love, singer-songwriter Susie Suh delivered an immersive musical healing experience in a Los Angeles cathedral. Inspired by her recent meditative and alternative healing studies (including visits to Lourdes, Glastonbury, Mount Shasta, Ojai, living with Buddhist monks, and plant and herbalism courses), Suh shared six songs from her new record, along with 2014’s hit streaming single, "Here With Me," and pieces from 2011’s The Bakman Tapes.

Musicianship: Between gentle acoustic (“This Is Love" and “Over You”) and rhythmic electric guitar (“Down The River”), haunting vocals, and a beautifully interwoven string underpinning, Suh’s musicianship is simultaneously solid and subtle. “Down The River” brought a beautiful combination of atmospheric sound and intoxicating vocal delivery, and you could hear a pin drop on Suh’s gentle love song, “I Do.” Laurann Woods added keyboard and vocals with Suh for “Blood Moon,” with the lyrics “watercolor memories are fading,” while “Here With Me” highlighted the string section and shared delicate soprano passages.

Performance: Entering the church adorned in a floor-length glittering gown and carrying strings of bell chimes, the first 40 minutes featured Suh playing crystal bowls while guests lay on yoga mats. After the sound-healing primer, the audience was treated to nine songs, the 3-piece string accompaniment underlit by glowing blue light. As the show progressed, more instrumentation was involved, and “Best Friend” included a phenomenal pair of modern interpretive dancers coming down the aisle toward the stage, writhing to the words and music. Show closer “Invisible Love” began on the piano and transitioned to the opening vocal lines with backing string sounds.

Summary: Taking full advantage of the venue’s stunning acoustics and atmosphere (and having left a gift of custom essential oils on each mat), Suh held the audience strangely immune to the chaos of the outside world for the duration of the show (despite the loud crashing of cars and chaos of emergency vehicles just outside). Intimate and deeply resonant, Suh’s music created a palpable, unifying feeling of love in the room, and delivered an ethereal concert of rejuvenating sound. – Andrea Beenham