It was a dark and stormy night when Meg Myers rolled into Brooklyn to perform at Music Hall of Williamsburg this past Wednesday (opening for New Zealand trio Broods.) There’s a theory that musicians are performers in everything they do, that their authenticity is always in question. However, with Meg Myers, you could see the music coursing through and out of her, feel her grainy screams straight to your core. I’ve never seen an artist embody their music more completely than the darkly talented Meg Myers.
Meg came onstage backed by a guitarist, drummer, and a cellist (to my surprise). She grabbed her bass and stepped up to the mic, calmly breathing in the life force of the room to achieve an internalized state of mind for her music. “I should pray for Adelaide,” she begun – the story of emotionally bruised and abused Adelaide. She put the bass down and assumed sweeter sounding vocals for “Go”. She released her body (or rather allowed herself to corporeally embody her aggressively wrought, contorted sound during the instrumental sections) – tensely expulsing her energy outwards. But the sweet vocals were only ephemeral; destined to be ruptured by her gratifyingly unbridled scream for the last chorus.
Her focus turned inwards as she sang “Make A Shadow”. The lighting was sparse, giving flashing glimpses of Meg as she repeated, “I’m only in the shadows”. She then offered two unrecorded (as of yet) songs, one of which was “Say Nothing”.
Meg’s vocal versatility throughout was unnerving: she could go from whispery, sweet vocals, to detached cold timbres, to coarse yet controlled screams in the breadth of one song. After each song she appeared drained, sometimes doubled over. In other moments, you could see her eyes roll back in complete inundation of her own musical experience.
The ominous backing track of “Desire” rumbled under and rippled over the crowd before Meg finally delved into her darkest song yet about comestible, murderous desire. Her current guitarist, Michael, took on the melodic guitar solo mid-song [performed on the recording by Steve Stevens (who’s worked with Billy Idol and Michael Jackson)] with his own unfussy yet metallic flair.
Meg took up the guitar to perform “Monster”. Her growling repetition of “I gotta kill your mind, love” still haunts me, especially juxtaposed by her wailing, “Oh what it takes from me to lay by your side”. You could hear the psychological pain the love had caused her.
Her set reached complete catharsis with her final song, the scream-imbued “Heart Heart Head”. It started deceivingly innocent, but the cello scales continued to heighten the tension as the song caught fire. It seemed as if Meg was exorcising herself of the consuming identity of the man who had terrorized her heart and head. By the time she sang the last few breathy notes, the crowd was applauding her, cognizant and respectful of how raw she’d allowed herself to become.