Rebecca Loebe had a date with the University of Maine this Valentine’s Day when she performed at Java Jive.
Loebe – pronounced “low-bee” – performed mostly original material with a few covers sprinkled in, to a crowd of UMaine singles. When she asked if there were any couples in the audience, no hands were raised.
“Theme of the night is Valentine’s songs for people who would rather be here than somewhere with their valentine. I’m kidding,” Loebe said. “I have a lot of songs that are about relationships in their various stages.”
She said that her acoustic-indie style has gotten her comparisons to Natalie Merchant, Sarah Mclachlan, Ani DiFranco, early Jewel, and of course, Lisa Loeb.
“I’m thinking for my next posters, I’m going to have, like, little disclaimers saying ‘No relation to Lisa,’” Loebe said. “If I was [related to her], we’d be on tour in Japan together.I’d go to Japan with her, she’d come to the Union with me.”
Loebe’s performance, more than anything else, was just pure fun to watch. Her songs were serious at times, but her stage presence always managed to scream “happy” to the audience.
She transitioned into one of her songs by discussing her short stature. She mentioned how one doesn’t realize how small they are until they confront a soda machine or go into a supermarket.
The peak intimate moment of the night came from a story she told before performing her song, “Grace.” It centered around her car breaking down, and her first ride in the cab of a tow truck. It had an odd, redneck, worlds-collide feel to it, which was funny.
Her songs had a wide range of themes, like homelessness or the Boston Marathon. The two, essentially, have little to do with each other. But somehow Loebe managed to fit uncommon topics into her songs. Although most of them were about relationships, she still managed to keep her lyrical influences fresh.
For an acoustic performer, she moved around excessively, which added to her stage presence. Her feet seemed to continuously move, as though she was almost dancing to her own music. It added a sort of charm to the show that other Java Jive acts don’t have.
The performance was a good alternative to other Valentine’s Day activities. She said before the show that she likes to interact with her audience, and after the show, she encouraged everyone to come up and say hi. She mingled with the crowd afterward and signed some CDs, making it less of a performance and more of a casual event.
It was a fun way to spend Valentine’s Day for those with nothing else to do. Loebe is a funny, talented and surprisingly vibrant acoustic performer.
“It’s so funny, all of my friends are like ‘do you have a valentine?’” Loebe said. “Uh-huh, the University of Maine.”
Loebe’s CD, “Hey, It’s a Lonely World,” can be purchased on her Web site (www.rebeccaloebe.com)