Concert Review: Megan Barker

Park on Fremont, July 3

The Americana edition of the ongoing Life Is Beautiful Festival showcase series took place in an egg-frying Fremont Street parking lot. Ambulances screamed. Tourists shambled past. Singer-songwriter Megan Barker kept cool, strumming a 35-minute solo-acoustic set of original tunes. Well known in the local ?coffeehouse? scene, Barker semi-regularly plays venues such as E-String and House of Blues. Her studio-recorded music is Lisa Loeb crossed with Taylor Swift—peppy, poppy, lyrically straightforward and heartfelt. Minus a band, Barker?s songs lack superficial glossiness. But her stripped-down presentation at Park on Fremont provided a chance to study her impressive songcraft. Opener ?Caught in the Rain,? about letting go of a neatly made life, boasts a big chorus and is her potential hit. Barker is an accomplished guitarist, her nimble finger-picking on ?Where to Fall? providing nice contrast to the song?s message of spirit-gouged disorientation. There wasn?t a bum note, and she saved her best, most pensive tune for last. ?Shakespeare and Me?is an extended metaphor expressing love?s inherent disaster: Love is a tragedy/It?s been this way for centuries. The Bard would agree. ★★★☆☆

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