Intimate Minimalism and Infectious beauty

“Thank you very much.”

These are the words Juliana Hatfield softly cooed after concluding each of her songs before a small crowd at the Polish American Club last Wednesday night. The 35-year-old graduate of the Berklee College of Music displayed a humble friendliness that hinted faintly at her accomplishments as a musician. On top of her solo career, Hatfield has participated in the Lemonheads, Juliana Hatfield Three, Blake Babies, and most recently Some Girls. For the sake of a little trivia knowledge, she has also made guest appearances in the cult television series “My So-Called Life” and “The Adventures of Pete and Pete.”

Things at the Polish American club were slightly delayed. Local group Scott Nixon opened for Hatfield. The foursome played a mix of slow and melodic acoustic music. The band’s lead vocalist exerted a folkie vibe, whereas the drummer appeared to have a heavy jazz influence. It made for an enjoyable, if slightly off-kilter sound.

A slender crowd of 100 showed up to see this indie rock darling. The crowd skewed older, with Smirnoff Ice serving as the night’s unofficial drink of choice. The turnout appeared even smaller due to the decor of the venue, which was decked out with chandeliers and mirrored walls that gently reflected a disco ball. Couples clung tightly to each other awaiting Juliana’s set, one that would end up delighting attendees with old and new ballads.

After a brief intermission, Juliana stepped out onto the stage in front of the gold and crushed red velvet curtains. Her setup was intimate and minimalist: a Fender amp, a Gibson guitar and a microphone. Juliana, respected for her acoustic “unplugged” sets well before “unplugged” was hip, came to Miami packing an electric guitar. For the most part, this combination worked. However, on some songs her sugary-sweet vocals seemed to clash with the guitar distortion.

The two biggest songs of the night were “My Sister” and “Spin the Bottle,” which received mainstream breakthrough status as a track on the soundtrack to Reality Bites. During these numbers, couples were free to separate from their loved ones’ snug presence and bounce around to the melody.

Juliana simply delivered the goods. The PA system made her voice crisp and clear. Much thanks to JC Moya of Firefly Music for bringing Juliana all the way down to our neck of the woods, err, coast, along with Bright Eyes last Sunday. It is disappointing that the turn out was rather lax. Juliana Hatfield is a very talented musician with an infectiously beautiful voice – Miami and UM students should show more love for the music scene. If you missed this show, then you missed out.

Look in the Life & Art calendar for upcoming dates at the Polish American Club, 1250 NW 22nd Ave.

Kira Wisniewski can be reached at