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Basia Bulat @ Boot & Saddle.

November 22, 2013

basiabulat (3 of 14)Text and images by Grace Dickinson.

“I like you guys,” Basia Bulat told the audience Wednesday night at Boot & Saddle.

The simple sentence that came after the folksy singer’s 2nd song expressed a sentiment she’d repeat many times over. Wide-eyed and grinning from cheek to cheek, Bulat seemed to love Philly as much as Philly loved her back.

“You really are the city of brother love,” she said later on. “I’m sure you hear that all the time, but I really love playing here.”

Hailing all the way from Toronto, Bulat packed the house, after a WXPN session earlier that afternoon. With her, she brought a bassist and drummer, while she herself rotated between an autoharp, a charango, an acoustic guitar, keyboard and two mics. To say Bulat is a performer of many talents would be and understatement. These of which include what may be one of her best gifts – a relentlessly warm stage presence.

Bulat began with a few older, folksier tracks before moving into a solo set to effortlessly deliver several stripped down tunes. “A few for just you and me,” she said. Later, as the guys rejoined her on stage, the night shifted towards her newer album. A heavier focus went towards the electronic keyboard and less on the charango, with songs like “Tall, Tall Shadows” and “Never Let Me Go.”

“This is all going by way too fast,” she said with just a few left for the night. “It feels really strange and bittersweet.”

Donning an all red outfit and lipstick to match, Bulat would every so often tuck back her hair between riveting lyrics of love and heartbreak. By the end, this tuck would move to a pull of her long blonde strands from both hands, in what almost seemed a gesture of disbelief. The concluding applause lusted for an encore and led Bulat’s hands to yank her hair, and then to hide her face in joy.

“You guys have special powers,” she said before the final two songs. “Where do you all come from?”

She knew the answer – the City of Brotherly Love.

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