Live review: Hope Sandoval and the Warm Inventions @ the Bluebird Theater

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Sandoval herself played xylophone, glockenspiel and harmonica on several tracks, always adding to the ethereal feel of her songs. The xylophone in particular was used to great effect on “Around My Smile.”

Sandoval’s vocals had a lot of reverb on them, and they were turned down in the mix during the first portion of the show, making it hard to decipher her lyrics. Sandoval has always been a shy performer, and that is why she doesn’t like her vocals to stand out.

However, by the time they launched into the anthemic “Trouble,” she’d found her comfort range, and her voice came through clearly over the alternating choppy rhythms and cleanly picked lines of Brennan’s Fender guitar.

Sandoval ended her set with a fierce “For the Rest of Your Life.” Brennan and bass player Al Browne, who switched to guitar for the song, made clever use of delay to create a hypnotic effect that made it sound like the soundtrack to the end of the world, and Sandoval’s xylophone was made all the more striking.

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Sandoval returned for a double encore. On the last song, “Feeling of Gaze,” Brennan’s guitar slyly echoed the Rolling Stones’ “Ruby Tuesday.”

For people who prefer music to spectacle, Sandoval’s show was one of the highlights of the year.

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Candace Horgan is a Denver freelance writer/photographer and regular contributor to Reverb. When not writing and shooting, she plays guitar and violin in Denver band the defCATS.