Things to Do

Vanessa Carlton Played a Secret Pop-Up Show at the National Cathedral

There was no "A Thousand Miles," though.

Photograph courtesy of Kill the Light Photography.

The pop-up concert series Sofar Sounds specializes in placing unusual artists in even more unusual places, and Thursday night’s show, its second in DC since returning from a short hiatus, was an awe-inspiring bill of randomness: Vanessa Carlton at the National Cathedral.

The piano-playing singer-songwriter stuck mostly to songs from her new record Liberman, meaning that attendees didn’t get to hear her 2001 mega hit “A Thousand Miles.” However, her new batch of songs—which she performed accompanied by a violinist and a laptop full of pre-recorded loops—is reminiscent of baroque pop artists like Perfume Genius and Regina Spektor and perfect for a church setting.

The Sofar Sounds concept is centered around the element of surprise, meaning that audience members had no idea that Carlton was performing prior to their arrival at the National Cathedral. No one seemed to mind when the show ended without “A Thousand Miles”; they just felt strangely lucky to see her in the first place.

Photograph by Henry Gallagher.
Photograph by Henry Gallagher.
Photograph by ‘Kill the Light Photography.’
Photograph by ‘Kill the Light Photography.’

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