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Zooey Deschanel/M. Ward Project: Noise Pop ’08’s Hottest Ticket

And just how was the true public debut of She & Him? Quite promising!

By: Melissa Goldstein // March 3, 2008

For the closing night of Noise Pop, the hottest ticket by a landslide belonged to She & Him at Great American Music Hall, the first bona fide public live show for the Zooey Deschanel/M.Ward collaboration. That’s right. The first. Okay, so they did perform at any number of Sundance-related events. Just don’t go telling Noise Pop HQ you saw them; Redford’s always trying to salt their game.

Following opening numbers by an extremely soulful Adam Stephens (of Two Gallants) and an updated honky tonk set from Whispertown 2000, the headliners took to the stage with band in tow.

Looking even wider-eyed-than-usual and sporting a ’60s-style, black halter party dress, Deschanel appeared visibly apprehensive about the hype she was up against. It was all so very pivotal-scene-in-the-music-biopic, where our heroine first takes to the stage to say, “Hey world, I can sing!”

And the actress can — so clear-as-a-bell-beautifully, in fact, that we forgot how postmodern the whole thing was. Anyone who’s heard “Why Do You Let Me Stay Here” online knew there was promise, but Deschanel swept away any doubts with her vocal stylings on She & Him original “Sentimental Heart” and via an innate chemistry with Ward during a duet on Smokey Robinson’s classic, “You Really Got a Hold On Me.” In the instance of any Walk the Line sequel, Reese Witherspoon would be on notice.

For the most part, the always-understatedly-talented Ward seemed keen to offer up the spotlight to his stage companion, but an encore performance of “I Put a Spell on You,” provided a cherry opportunity for a Rodrigo y Gabriela-style big finish, with Ward leaving the audience with a looped repetition of his feverish guitar solo, a parting gift for attending the pair’s coming out party.
She & Him / Photo by Stefanie Michejda
Zooey Deschanel of She & Him / Photo by Stefanie Michejda
She & Him’s M. Ward / Photo by Stefanie Michejda
Adam Stephens of Two Gallants / Photo by Stefanie Michejda
Adam Stephens of Two Gallants / Photo by Stefanie Michejda