Liz Phair graced the stage of West Hollywood’s on Wednesday night before jumping on a plane and heading out to join the lively music scene of South by Southwest.
The spunky artist joined her three-piece band on stage around 10 p.m., rocking a short gray dress paired with a sequined gold belt, a colorful necklace, strappy high heels, and a welcoming smile.
After expressing concern over the crisis in Japan and her worry that she had been “radiafied,” she dove right into several songs from her critically acclaimed, “Exile in Guyville,” including “6’1,” “Help Me Mary,” and “Divorce Song.” Following the openers, Phair performed a mixture of hits, as well as several new songs off her latest release, “Funstyle.”
Toward the end of the set, she addressed the crowd and asked if anyone was feeling extroverted enough to join her on stage to sing back-up vocals for “Flower.” A brave girl volunteered.
Phair performed a test verse to make sure she was legit, and then dove right into the song. The girl was the real deal and Phair bestowed her with compliments before releasing her back into the crowd with a hug.
The set continued with Phair performing 19 songs in total, including hits like “May Queen,” “Nashville,” “Polyester Bride,” Cinco De Mayo,” “Johnny Feelgood,” “Soul Dedication,” “Extraordinary,” “Stratford on Guy,” “Why Can’t I,” and “F*ck and Run.”
Jennifer Brody was among the show’s attendees that were excited to hear “Mesmerizing” live. “This is my favorite song! I used to put it on all my mixed tapes,” Brody told Patch.
The set also included new songs such as “And He Slayed Me” and “Oh Bangladesh,” which are off Phair’s newest release, “Funstyle.” Phair road tested a new song, not yet recorded and never played live before Wednesday.
“I’m not even sure it’s fully written and the band isn’t even sure what the changes are,” joked Phair before launching into a tune called “Soul Dedication.”
Phair’s voice sounded better than ever and her band was extremely polished. She was animated on stage, often bantering back and forth with her band and the audience. She made personable eye contact with the crowd and fed off the energy of the guys that yelled out “I love you Liz” whenever there was a break in between songs.
Prior to Wednesday’s show, Phair told Patch that she is more than proud of her latest release, “Funstyle,” despite the fact that critics have not completely warmed up to the experimental project.
“I named it ‘Funstyle,’" Phair said. “That should theoretically clue people into the fact that it’s experimental.”
Phair, who has been dabbling in the scoring for television world, has recently worked on music for the new series of "90210." Loving her time in the studio, she was given the opportunity to play around with soundscapes and create new and eclectic material, which ultimately, along with several impromptu jam sessions with musician friends, led to the recording of “Funstyle.”
“Everything on ‘Funstyle’ is recorded on the fly,” said Phair. “That’s the fun of ‘Funstyle.' It’s sort of me saying you too can make music.”
“Funstyle” is currently available on iTunes and in stores. The album’s physical version comes packaged with a disc called “Girlysound,” which is chalk full of rare and raw demo material from the early days of Phair’s career.
Visit www.lizphair.com to purchase "Funstyle" and to download “Oh Bangladesh" off the album for free.