Lola Kirke strut onto the stage in a sequined jacket and western boots, the curtain dropping to reveal a banner emblazoned with her name. For the next hour or so, Kirke and her small but musically flawless band navigated the space between sequins and the South, playing songs that aren’t quite pop or country, and thankfully, not pop country.
Playing at Brooklyn Made, Kirke focused on new album “Lady For Sale,” released the day before, a twangy, synthy affair that she has said is reflective of the big ’80s and ’90s mainstream country records. Kirke’s confident yet self-deprecating manner (she’s also an actress) is the perfect vessel for the usual country motifs of heartbreak and booze, but she manages to bring something fresh to the mix while standing on the shoulders of those who came before her.
Kirke and company kept it tight and upbeat during the well-paced set. Highlights included the fun, midtempo title track and “Better Than Any Drug.” She introduced a song about a failed romance with an older man by saying the story occurred where these stories always do — Florida.
Just hours after the news of Wynonna Judd’s passing, Kirke and her band began their encore with an impromptu, a cappella performance of The Judds’ “Grandpa (Tell Me ‘Bout the Good Old Days).” They read the lyrics from a printout, stripping away some of the glitz of the set for a moment of true vulnerability. Kirke high-fived a band member after the song. They closed with her equally poignant country ballad “Not Used.”
Next up for Kirke is a string of dates in the UK and Europe beginning Sept. 11 in Glasgow. “Lady for Sale” is available on Jack White’s independent label, Third Man Records.
Photo by Zack Michael