The lustful moans of countless concertgoers will fill the Crystal Ballroom tomorrow in the last night of 94.7’s “December to Remember” concert series. Sarah Barthel is the most ferociously attractive woman in music, indiscriminately destroying hearts nationwide without regard for race, color, or creed. Yet she remains on stage, unattainable, a fantasy merely, almost as insubstantial as her singing, ethereal and unreal it is so soft and breathy.
This tour she has taken to slipping backstage and coming out for a song in a dress made completely of mirrors, standing on a podium and turning around like a human disco ball while the lightwork shines on her, becoming a black hole for the gaze, a reflection of all your desires right back at you, a projection of them all throughout the concert hall.
Barthel’s teasing manipulation of her image however would be merely illusory without the thrumming of the heavy synth backbeat of producer-musician Josh Carter behind her: his dark, baroque rhythms and obscure samples erect the perfect sonic spaces for her ghostly voice to haunt. That won’t stop her image from dominating the evening, however, and becoming the creepy obsession of Portlanders who see her for the next month or two.