Ladies and gentlemen, this one has been a long time coming. Back in January, saki and Epitonic hosted the New York-based husband and wife duo, Ida. The session happened almost last minute. Ida’s Elizabeth Mitchell was coming to town to play a set of children’s songs at The Old Town School of Folk Music, and with her husband Dan and violinist Jean Cook in tow, they were looking for a low-key place to play a set as Ida. A mutual friend (Mark Greenberg from The Coctails) recommended saki as the perfect venue. The band hadn’t played in Chicago for several years, and despite their reputation for playing hushed guitars and somber vocal melodies, their fans are known for being pretty hardcore (at least in their devotion to the band). Without a week’s notice the fans didn’t disappoint, and Ida played to a packed house.

In what ended up being the longest session we’ve hosted to date, Ida went above and beyond the typical trappings of an in-store performance and proceeded to put on a full-on show for us. They touched upon a few of their early favorites (“Maybelle,” “Downtown”) in a set that mostly showcased songs from their gorgeous 2008 Polyvinyl releases “Lovers Prayers” and the “My Fair, My Dark” EP, as well a few well-placed covers including Michael Hurley’s “In The Garden.”

It was clear during this session that both the band and the audience were genuinely grateful to have this experience. I’ve never seen a group of people be so still and so silent for the entirety of a band’s performance, especially not in a record store. I’m not sure another band could pull off what Ida has done here. This was a band that was, by their own account, a little rusty, though it hardly shows. From the start of their Session, Ida held a firm grasp over everyone in attendance, and whether they were out of practice or not, they were certainly in their element. We hope that you can glean from this recording even a portion of the magic that we witnessed that night, but we know one thing for sure -- if you weren’t there that night, you’ll never fully know how amazing Ida was.

Special thanks to Elizabeth Mitchell, Dan Littleton, Storey Littleton, Jean Cook, Jon Langford & Geoff Farina!

(Picture via Baby Stew)