By Kevin Brown, Opinions Editor
There are two things you need to understand about me. One: I detest country music. Two: I love the fiddle.
When I saw posters of Natalie Stovall (playing the fiddle, no less) plastered around campus, my interest was piqued. According to them, Stovall won Performer of the Year, Band of the Year, Female Artist of the Year and Best Music Act in 2010. How did she probably get all those? Fiddle.
So, on Sept. 1 at 8:00 p.m., I was ready and waiting in the Hansen seating. When Stovall came on the stage, fiddle in hand, I was excited as hell.
Then, I was disappointed. While Stovall and company’s performance was not bad by any means, it was one of the most uneven shows I’ve seen.
The show started off with about five original and unfortunately slow songs. Her over-accentuated singing style, her lovey-dovey lyrics and the boring drum and base line didn’t do much to excite the audience.
Of course, the audience would have had a much better reaction if the energy was higher. I’ll swear to it that the drummer counted the number of seats twice.
But how much of the low energy was the band’s fault and how much was the student body’s is up to debate. As always, there was a measly crowd of 35 or so at Hansen. If an award-winning fiddler isn’t enough to draw others in, I don’t know what will.
While the first set wasn’t bad, it was nothing impressive. Nothing worthy of Performer of the Year.
Then she played the fiddle. Oh, how she played the fiddle.
Stovall gave us an eight-minute long rock medley – essentially, a long jam session.
And the crowd went bonkers.
She played Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, the White Stripes and more. And – wait for it – “Free Bird.” For the first time of the night, the crowd was hooting, the band was smiling and Stovall played the fiddle.
I mean, she was really sawing away. The reason I came to see the performance was because I was under the impression Stovall was a fiddler who occasionally sang country songs, not a country singer that occasionally played the fiddle.
This medley broke the unexciting, slow rhythm. For once, the air was filled with electricity and rosin.
Stovall had a smug look on her face after the song, and for good reason. We were all responding to her for the first time since she took the stage. The small audience wasn’t able to fill Center Court, but Stovall certainly filled the stage. The 5 foot tall singer puffed up as the audience cheered.
Know what she did next? She played “The Devil Went Down to Georgia.”
I hate to say it, but I had a lot more fun listening to songs that weren’t hers. She seemed to have more fun with them too.
When she was playing “Devil,” I saw a glimpse of Performer of the Year. She was fun, exciting to watch and made me smile.
I’d love to see her again sometime at a larger venue. She has an infectious personality when she wants to and is a devil of a fiddle player.