Regina Spektor: Singer, Songwriter, Storyteller, Soviet Kitsch

Regina Spektor: Singer, Songwriter, Storyteller, Soviet Kitsch

Regina Spektor is a name I grew up with. Her popularity peaked at the time I was just starting to dive headfirst into the theatre, art, and music scenes. To me, her music encapsulated all of the things I was interested in, especially her work on Begin to Hope. Songwriting ability like hers was completely unrepresented at the time and the content of her art was saturated in dramatic but brash metaphor yet somehow audaciously earnest. She found a way to show off her vocal chops like the best pop stars, but steered clear of the meaningless content that her contemporaries were happily propagating. She was uniquely herself... And that was the most endearing thing about her.

Since the days of Begin to Hope, Spektor has had a niche, but successful career. The latest release of hers, titled Remember Us to Life, features the same sweeping sentimentality Spektor has become known for with songs like "Eet" and "Fidelity" but demonstrates a much more retrospective tone throughout.

The latest tour, which I was fortunate enough to catch is in support of this album and on her Columbus stop, she managed to perform Remember Us to Life in it's entirety, sans one song. Sorry to any "Black and White" fans that were in attendance. You will just have to get lucky and catch her at another stop on the tour.

The set opened with "On The Radio", an older, but perfect introduction to Spektor's style of music. The song is beautifully dynamic, upbeat, and eclectic. She then transitioned into the new album, performing "Grand Hotel", "Bleeding Heart" and more. Almost half of the way through her set, Spektor got candid with the crowd, expressing how grateful she felt to have come to the United States as a child and a refugee. 

For those unaware, Regina Ilyinichna Spektor was born in the Soviet Union under oppression by the Iron Curtain but was fortunate enough to later immigrate to the United States with her family. She reflected on the current state of politics, the importance of acceptance, and after a roar of applause, the first notes of "Ballad of a Politician" echoed throughout the venue. It was an incredibly moving and inspirational moment. 

Between each song Spektor turned to greet the audience, cracked the most honest smile, bowed to the fans in the front and thanked those in the back.  She treated the crowd to favorites; "The Call", "Samson", "Fidelity" and "Hotel Song". The crowd returned the favor by swaying and singing along loudly to each and every tune...except Mary Anne. She's a Bitch.

Piano Player Brad Whiteley performing with Regina Spektor. Regina Spektor Live at Express LIVE. Mathias Künzli performing with Regina Spektor.
Ben Goldfarb

Associate Editor Ben Goldfarb covers the nightlife, entertainment, and community scenes, writing articles, reviews, and contributing photography.