Welcome to the world of Kristin Allen-Zito: Tinged with awkwardness; she greets a roomful of people waiting to see her by confessing that after meticulously bleaching her white jeans just for the event, she trod in a steaming pile of dog poop on the way to her own show and spent much of Cumulus’ support set dabbing at herself with paper towels in the ladies’ room. As Britpop guitar virtuoso Graham Coxon puts it; rock stars are not cool.
Much like her public speaking; Allen-Zito’s string-picking is not perfect; but provides a charming and sincere framework upon which to share her stories, ranging from the excitement of her first tour, to losing a friend to terminal illness, and an ode to her mother; who was in the crowd and thought nothing of making her song requests known. “I’m only just beginning to tell people what these songs mean,” the Bellingham songstress admits. Vulnerability can be scary, but she puts it to good use – the room is transfixed during her performances of ‘Helium’, despite the introduction “Hey! Has anyone else ever been told that they have bipolar, and then years later their doctor says ‘Just kidding!’?”. Frivolity aside, the songs are touching, and remain undiluted by self-conscious straining to remember scales; nor the barista’s last call for coffee.
Joined by Idiot Pilot’s Michael Harris (who is featured on the album), the pair gave a charming, smirk-ridden rendition of ‘Underside of Heaven’, which is particularly amusing if you happen to be in on the joke. If you haven’t heard the closing track from The Atlas; the lyrics are as follows: If we should part, part/Just know I’ll still kiss your balls/Kiss your balls/On the underside of heaven/That’s where I’ll be. A perfectly harmonized tune, complete with delicate, swooning harp strings, it is a perfect example of Allen-Zito at work.
Kristin is doing a free in-store performance at Bellingham’s Everyday Music, Saturday December 18th at 3pm – a great excuse to pick up some last-minute Christmas gifts for your favourite vinyl junkie.
View more photos from the evening here on flickr.