You’ll never see her coming. Straightforward and luscious, without the dizzying melisma of more ego-egregious peers, Alice Smith is a young soul singer with four octaves to burn and a true siren’s mastery of restraint. Her 2006 debut, For Lovers, Dreamers & Me, spread her through jazz, pop, and blues directives, while anchored in the unpredictable phrasing and broad dynamics of her mischievous grace. (She is, after all, from Brooklyn.) But while she’s scored a Grammy nomination for Best Urban/Alternative Performance (for the single “Dream”), nothing on wax can match the devastation of her concert: Last year, at her to-the-rafters Highline gig, two separate gents dropped their glassware directly on my sandals and gawked as she climbed to full, operatic volume. So if Smith can override the nervous system, revisiting 16th Street should be a breeze—but consider wearing rain boots anyway.

Fri., Jan. 23, 9 p.m., 2009

This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on January 14, 2009

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