Owen Pallett Prepared for the Worst at Webster Hall

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Published April 23, 2010

PHOTO BY SARAHANA

Owen Pallett introduced himself to Webster Hall on Thursday with a 15-second, “Hello, New York” and kept his crowd enthralled until he left the stage an hour later to the sounds of—but what else?—a Mariah Carey cover. Pallett, who until recently went by the name Final Fantasy, is a virtuosic violin player, and his own best sidekick. Singing over looped violin hooks, Pallett uses his instrument for percussion, backup, and on at least one song, a mic–all while playing the keyboard. For last night’s show at New York’s Webster Hall, he opened with older material, and dedicated the second half of the performance to songs off Heartland, his most recent concept album about an “ultra-violent farmer” named Lewis. With his classical training and (mostly) solo performances, seeing Pallett live is like watching a concert pianist in action—there’s a similar level of reverence in the behavior the audience, but a little more pop and a lot more dancing. Occasionally, Pallett broke the crowd’s silence with a remark, but in at least one instance, exuberant fans did it for him. “I thought you were about to announce something terrible,” Pallett said to a group of fans who interrupted him with screams from the upper deck. “Like an oil rig sinking on Earth day. Actually, that happened.”