Live in Concert

Sharon Van Etten, Live In Concert: SXSW 2012

Download Audio

37 min 47 sec

Staring out across the sea of people crowding an outdoor band shell in Austin, Sharon Van Etten practically dared her audience to pipe down and listen as she held long, cooing notes. She had the guts to trot out tiny delicacies like the spare ballad "Kevin's Way," complemented perfectly by the gorgeous backing vocals of Heather Broderick.

When I saw her at SXSW in 2010, she slunk shyly onstage at a church to tentatively sing breathtakingly fragile songs from her breakthrough album, Because I Was in Love. It's almost impossible to comprehend the transformation she's made since then. At NPR Music's showcase at Stubb's on Wednesday night, she flexed her songs' newfound muscle without obscuring the beating heart and raw nerves that lie beneath. The wounded acoustic material of her first album has given way to "Serpents" (from this year's mesmerizing Tramp), the bracing and caustic rocker with which she closed her performance. With its rigid, driving beat behind her vocals, the song fully captured many of Van Etten's newfound identities: frontwoman, bandleader, stealth rock star.


Producers: Amy Schriefer, Robin Hilton; Video by: XI Media; Audio Engineer: Kevin Wait

Set List
  • "All I Can"
  • "Warsaw"
  • "Give out"
  • "In Line"
  • "Kevin's Way"
  • "Magic Chords"
  • "Leonard"
  • "Serpents"
[+] read more[-] less

More From Rock

JD McPherson Alicia J. Rose/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption Alicia J. Rose/Courtesy of the artist

Favorite Sessions

opbmusic Presents: JD McPherson

Watch the rockabilly guitarist perform "You Must Have Met Little Caroline?" at Pickathon 2015.

Tiny Desk Concert with Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats Julia Reihs/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Julia Reihs/NPR

Tiny Desk

Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats

At the Tiny Desk, Rateliff's body-shaking Southern-style soul takes on a more laid-back sound.

A still from Pill's "Hot Glue" video. Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption Courtesy of the artist

All Songs TV

First Watch: PILL, 'Hot Glue'

The NYC post-punks get NSFW with pointy press-on nails, phallic produce and pills.

Tiny Desk Concert with Diane Coffee. Jun Tsuboike/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Jun Tsuboike/NPR

Tiny Desk

Diane Coffee

Conjuring David Bowie, Diane Coffee's Shaun Fleming swaggered and shimmied behind the Tiny Desk.

Back To Top

NPR thanks our sponsors

Become an NPR sponsor