Elliott Smith will have passed away ten years ago this October 21, and no doubt there will be various efforts this autumn to honor the songwriter. But earlier this month, friends, family, and fans found a more uplifting occasion to pay tribute to the fallen musician: a week-long series built around his August 6 birthday, of which he would have turned 44-years-old.
No Name #1: A Celebration of the Life & Music of Elliott Smith, co-organized by Smith’s sister Ashley Welch, was a four-city event that somehow didn’t make its way up to Boston. However, our city was well-repped at the August 10 show at Bowery Ballroom in New York City: first, JJ Gonson reportedly performed with Girls Rock Camp Boston (a set that included the event’s title cut, “No Name #1,” which Gonson co-wrote); and later that evening, Smith collaborator and friend Mary Lou Lord took the stage for a three-song set that featured the first-ever live performance from her 14-year-old daughter, Annabelle Lord-Patey. Annabelle’s dad, Kevin Patey, is the manager at T.T. The Bear’s Place in Cambridge and plays in Raging Teens.
The mother-daughter’s set immediately received rave reviews in both the New Yorker and Rolling Stone — “It’s all downhill from here,” Kevin quipped to me recently; heaven knows this post confirms his suspicion. They performed three songs: “St. Ides Heaven,” “I Figured You Out,” and Big Star’s “Thirteen.”
When they were done, Welch came back on stage and spoke of the family vibes in the room, then relayed a story about seeing Lord live in Denver at the Lilith Fair, while Lord was pregnant with Annabelle. The symbolism of Smith’s enduring music was not lost.