Alaska, Events, Opinion

A night with Kimya Dawson

Alexis De Leon for the Seward City News –

The excitement building at the Yukon Bar is felt throughout Fourth St.; entering the bar it seems everyone in Seward has crammed into the joint for the occasion.  Kimya Dawson is the buzz of the town.

Kimya Dawson thanks the crowd and the Yukon Bar for hosting a Seward show
Kimya Dawson thanks the crowd and the Yukon Bar for hosting a Seward show

The former singer/songwriter of the Indie/Folk band, the Moldy Peaches and large contributor to the “Juno” soundtrack performed at the Yukon Bar, Wednesday night.


Sharply dressed patrons swayed to the rhythm of the opening acts. A one-man band by the name This Heart was first to open the show. The stage is set for a mellow scene.

Next to take the intimate stage was Daniel Firmin. The Fairbanks native played a few popular covers along with original works. Firmin’s cover of “Pursuit of Happiness” by Kid Cudi was a definite crowd pleaser.

The night progressed with each opening act bringing a distinctly different vibe to the crowded bar. While the Yukon hosted a hectic rotation of people coming and going the bar staff remained calm and friendly.

Finally around 11 p.m. Paul Baribeau took the stage. The audience seemed a bit concerned that Dawson had yet to take the stage, but with the daylight still present and the beverages still cold the show went on.

Within the Yukon, lovers swayed to the music. Girls with their boots on high and their hair braided sweetly crowded the front of the stage. Groups of friends and strangers blurred together as the music played on.

About forty-five minutes later Dawson appeared on stage with a bottle of Smart Water. The crowd was instantly thrown into frenzy. The audience near the front of the stage nearly bounced on their feet in excitement.

Dawson takes a seat on a wooden stool on stage and begins to strum a guitar.

“I can’t play guitar,” Dawson said. “And I might have a touch of the laryngitis.”

The crowd, receptive to everything Dawson says, laughs at her joke immediately. Dawson begins to play a new song and the emotion shared between the audience and the artist is almost palatable. The intimacy the Yukon’s stage gives the artist and the audience is one thus far unrivaled. A few well-dressed, starry-eyed girls sat on the lower level of the stage. Swaying to the music they all smile up at Dawson in awe.

Many of the night’s audience traveled in from neighboring cities just to catch the show.


Dawson refrained from singing anything from her Moldy Peaches days as well as the “Juno” soundtrack. Instead Dawson played songs from her most recent album “Thunder Thighs” and a few children’s songs from her edgy children’s album, “Alphabutt.”

Dawson’s style of music is an acquired one. The singer repeatedly mentioned throughout the show that her songs were not for dancing to, they were for crying to.

Nearing the end of the set Dawson asked Baribeau to join her for a duet on stage. The two drew the audience in to a quiet state of wonderment.

Dawson had the crowd under total control. After Baribeau and Dawson concluded their last song for the evening the crowd demands “one more song.” To which a few audience members shouted in unison.

The singer took several drinks of her water before agreeing to the chanting crowd.

“This is a song I wrote for my daughter,” Dawson said. “I hope when you hear it you will understand the feeling and I hope someone out there feels this way about you.”

To this a few members in the crowd shout they have no one so Dawson responds with a warming comment to pretend she is their grandmother and to remember that she loves the crowd very much.

“Sometimes when you take your shirt off you leave your love on your sleeve,” Dawson said. “So always check your sleeve first when looking for love.”

Once the show had officially ended Dawson and her opening acts gathered around a small merchandise table to speak with people as well as sell a few CDs, albums and even socks.

Dawson gave out hugs and autographs graciously. A girl in the audience even put together a poster board for the singer, however due to luggage constraints Dawson turned down accepting the board but returned it after having signed it.

Dawson, Baribeau, Firmin and This Heart will continue their Alaskan tour playing three shows in Anchorage next. Following Anchorage the tour has plans to travel to Fairbanks for another two shows, all of which are free.

Those looking to catch a few more shows can head to the Yukon Bar throughout the weekend. The Yukon Bar will continue the weekend hosting another band, Animal Eyes, this Friday, June 13 and Saturday, 14. Animal Eyes is originally an Alaskan band traveling up from Portland, Oregon of the Indie/Rock persuasion.

Finally on Sunday, June 15 the Yukon will host Alaska’s very own Hobo Jim.


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