Sunday, October 13, 2002

Amy Rigby handles one-singer show with aplomb

Concert review

By Chris Varias
The Cincinnati Enquirer

The show must go on, and Amy Rigby rescued Saturday night at the Southgate House.

Ms. Rigby was the scheduled opening act for offbeat singer-songwriter Todd Snider. Mr. Snider dropped off the bill earlier in the day, so Ms. Rigby stepped up and did two delightful 45-minute sets showcasing songs from 18 Again, her recently released anthology album.

Ticket-holders were given full refunds because of Mr. Snider's cancellation, but many people chose to attend the revamped performance at a discounted ticket price. Mr. Snider's manager told Brenda Madden of Magus Music, the show's promoter, that the singer had been hospitalized with a high fever.

Ms. Rigby handled it all like a champ. She even kicked off the show with a talking blues abou t the night's circumstances to the tune off Mr. Snider's “Beer Run.” She wrote it just before hitting the stage, she said.

“I hope you say I'm an all right girl,” Ms. Rigby sang, referencing one of Mr. Snider's better-known songs.

Fans of Mr. Snider who stayed shouldn't have been disappointed. The two singers' styles are very similar, about two-thirds whimsical, one-third poignant.

Her first set had lots of laughs, with twisted love songs like “Cynically Yours” (“You know I love you 100 percent of the amount I'm capable of loving you”).

Later in the set Ms. Rigby, who was performing solo, broke a string on her acoustic guitar. While changing the string she talked about her dispute with a Cincinnati band over a name. She recorded for Matador Records in the early "90s with a group called The Shams, a name with which a current Cincinnati band had christened itself a few years back. This didn't please her.

“I wrote them a letter to tell them The Shams was already taken, and they wrote back and said, "That was a long time ago.'

“That was in the "90s! What are you talking about?

“These kids today, they can't go through the trouble of coming up with their own name!” (The Cincinnati group sort of relented and became Thee Shams.)

The second set featured a snapshot of the best parts of Friday night's Elvis Costello show at the Taft Theatre. Ms. Rigby played “Don't Break The Heart,” a song she wrote, and which Mr. Costello's opening act Laura Cantrell covered, followed by a rendition of Mr. Costello's “Pump It Up.”


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