Watching The Weepies perform is like catching up with a childhood friend you haven’t seen in years — but not just an hour-long coffee chat. It’s more like a late night in a bar where you detail everything that’s happened over the past year, complete with photos of your pets and/or kids.
he indie folk band doesn’t tour frequently, but when it does, the audience gets an intimate glimpse into singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalists Deb Talan and Steve Tannen’s personal and professional lives. At Freight and Salvage Coffeehouse in Berkeley, CA last Wednesday, I got caught up on everything from their trip to the Monterey Aquarium with their kids to Talan’s upcoming solo record Lucky Girl, which has raised $57,021 on Kickstarter. The large room was packed, but it still felt cozy, with a crowd spanning all age groups.
Talan and Tannen both have distinctive voices, but they sound best when they harmonize, especially when one lags just a bit behind the other. Their lyrics are bittersweet, and their playful, catchy tunes and innocent motifs belie the mature subjects some of their songs tackle. “Be My Thrill,” for example, compares a lover all at once to a “little white pill,” an “unpaid bill,” a “sweet tooth,” and a “kissing booth.” Another highlight was their emotional performance of the poetic ballad “Painting by Chagall,” which sounds like it belongs in the credits of a romantic indie film.
The couple spilled their hearts out to the audience about everything from the argument that inspired “Be My Thrill” to Tannen’s desire for Talan to appear in an animated movie (which she definitely should because her voice is made for it).
“I don’t go to church. I don’t have a confessional,” Tannen said during the show. “This is it.” Between the couple’s heartfelt songs and candid stories, the show really did feel like a confession of sorts, and the audience had the honor of playing the priest.