Words & Pics: Adrian Hextall \ MindHex Media
A cold dark evening in Brooklyn and a trip on the infamous NYC Subway to get to the Brooklyn Bazaar to see one of the hottest new bands on the scene at the moment was an opportunity not to be missed. Having performed in London at the tiny Crowbar venue with no stage to work, the ample space afforded to Mother Feather at the Bazaar would hopefully see them in their element delivering on all of the promise that the smaller industry showcase suggested several months ago.
Touring on the back of their ‘Give Me Noise’ album, talented three piece New Myths open the evening at a time that most headliners are preparing to come on stage. They say the city never sleeps and when your opening act (of three) comes on at 8:45pm then you know you’re in for a late one!
Blending electronic elements with fuzzy guitars and haunting vocal harmonies, New Myths sound brings at times the sombre sound of bands like Joy Division yet at times adds the sparkle to match acts like Garbage, Hole and maybe a tiny slice of Blondie. Hailing from Brooklyn, playing at the Bazaar is probably as easy as popping out of the house to pick up a pint of milk from the local 7-11. What they deliver however warms up what is initially a rather sparse crowd which rapidly builds as does the buzz and atmosphere in the room that sits on the top floor of the venue.
Rosie Slater on drums suffers somewhat in the lighting department and remains in shadow for much of the show which is a shame as she bangs the tin cans like her life depends on it and drives the sound of the band forward on every song. Marina Ross on bass is either as high as a kite throughout the entire set or she’s simply the happiest person on the planet at the moment as the look of pure enjoyment and the smile to go along with it never leaves her face. She’s a joy to behold and the smile was definitely infectious.
Lead vocalist and guitarist Brit Boras ties it all together with some great licks, solid vocals and whilst the set is a short one, there’s no doubt that a number of people will be investigating their sound further. The album can be heard on Soundcloud and the link is below.
Another new band for us Brits in attendance at the show, CHAPPO have only recently made it across to the UK for a handful of shows so catching them as main support to Mother Feather gave us the opportunity to see what we’d missed back home.
The band, fronted by Alex Chappo also comprises David Feddock on guitar whose playing reminds me at times of another David, Gilmour to be precise. The sounds and style of playing that emanates from David’s guitar is mesmerising and the set was one to simply get lost in at times as the sounds lift and swirled around the crowd.
Chris Olsen (surprisingly no relation to Mother Feather’s Gunnar!) on keys and bass, save for the magnificent effect stained glass window, sits mostly in shadow as the lighting doesn’t make it back past the front very often. The focus therefore comes firmly to the front of the stage where Alex and David rule the roost. Alex reminding us at times of Alex Kane of AntiProduct, the unpredictability of the show, the general chaotic movement and energy which seeps out of every pore in his body and the knowledge that there’s always a little more left in the tank for an explosive finale when it’s needed.
Focusing on wide catalogue of material, which would later see a significant amount of dollars parted with to acquire as much of the band’s back catalogue on vinyl as possible, they are touring in support of 2015’s ‘Future Former Self’. The sound mixes in the feel of The Killers with a healthy dose of psychedelia mixed with other worldly lyrics which, when combined with the Gilmour like playing of Feddock really does deliver the complete package.
By the time they finish and Alex decides to surf across the crowd, the room is packed and the buzz is constant.
And so to the headliners. Another local band, it’s always good to see an act perform on their home turf and Mother Feather, fronted by Ann Courtney & Elizabeth Carena who also handles the keyboard work, their style, imagery and impact picks up the classic NYC sound of the early 1970’s, dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st Century. The Stooges are there, Bowie’s glam influence, Studio 54, The Ramones….. all of those classic influences have been poured, like strong coffee into the bodies of the two leads and when all of that caffeine and energy is unleashed upon the crowd there was never any doubt they’d take the Bazaar by storm.
The set is, of course, focused on the band’s debut album with ‘Egyptology’, ‘The Power’ and ‘Mirror’ providing a solid energised opening trio. With Matt Basile Chris Foley and Gunnar Olsen sporting the toned down, leather look with the customary white stripe on the faces the shadows do swallow them up on stage. It falls to Ann and Lizzie to provide the glitz and glam front and centre. Matt of course does dip his toe in the water on a regular basis and as the pictures below will attest, he finds a spot in light.
The focus though is as you might imagine on Ann and Lizzie. With fantastic make up and perfect choreography to go with the infectious ‘pop cock rock’ tunes [see lyrics to Trampoline for further clarification] their influence is spreading to all ages as evidenced by one fan who’d come with her family to see the band, in full make up to match Ann and who couldn’t have been more than around 8-10 years old. Cuteness personified, she lapped up every minute of the show although the following day at school was going to be a tough one with the venue only emptying well after midnight.
The aforementioned ‘Trampoline’ followed by ‘Beach House’ and then ‘Natural Disaster’ led us towards the tail end of the show with the album title track wrapping up the day. It also meant the crowd got 99% of the album played with a couple of surprises thrown in for good measure.
When the band are playing halls with a few thousand people in them and a catalogue of 4-5 albums, people will look back on shows like this, grateful for the opportunity to have seen and heard this fabulous act in such an intimate venue.