She Keeps Bees, Luke Temple, Friend Roulette, Stranger Cat, DM Stith, and Teletextile, Saturday, May 3, 2014
You know you are in for an amazing night when a band as great as Teletextile is the opening act for a six band line-up. Playing at Baby’s All Right in Williamsburg last Saturday, the band treated the audience to a set composed mostly of new, yet unreleased songs, including “Jeffrey,” “Fan the Spark,” “The Lark,” “The Look,” and “Endless Prisms.” Fronted by Pamela Martinez, who switched between the harp, Wurlitzer, and synthesizer, she was accompanied by a clarinetist, keyboardist and drummer. Making ample use of effects, the hypnotic noise of their instruments provided a perfect backing for Martinez’s incandescent vocals.
DM Stith who sings in a soft, plaintive Nick Drake-esque falsetto alternated with long, drawn out gypsy-like wails, played an hypnotic acoustic set that included two news songs, “Up to the Letters” and “Summer Madness.” Psychedelic visuals by Steve Spinella projected marbleized fields of color across their faces.
Half-way into her set with Sven Britt, Cat Martino, the singer of Stranger Cat, motioning for the audience to move forward, beckoned, “I want you to smell my sweat and I want to smell your sweat, more importantly.” That didn’t quite get the audience dancing, but we remained entranced by the duo’s lush electronic soundscape reigned over by Martino’s dulcet voice.
Friend Roulette brought back a fuller sound to the evening, with a six piece band playing guitar, bass, violin, electronic bass clarinet and not one, but two drum sets. Singer Julia Tepper, playing the violin has a beautifully lilting voice delivered with a dreamy softness that drifts and melts through the band’s layers of psychedelic orchestral pop.
Luke Temple of Here We Go Magic, mesmerized the audience with a stripped-down solo acoustic set which blended the gorgeousness of his voice with devastatingly earnest lyrics.
Introducing the last act of the evening, Luis Velazquez, who organizes shows under the name Cara Bella, pointed out that his mom was in attendance. Referring to himself and all the bands as one big family, he went so far as to include the audience as well. “This is a labor of love, man. Keep doing what you love,” he proclaimed, shortly before crowd surfing as She Keeps Bees started to play.
From the onset, it was hard to believe that only two musician were on stage–Jessica Larrabee on vocals and guitar and Andy LaPlant switching from guitar to drums, such was the ferocity of their sound. A one-woman maelstrom, with a deep, sultry voice, Larrabee delivers vocals with an intensity that evokes early Cat Power, while playing similarly simple chords on the guitar. LaPlant accompanied her for the first two songs on guitar, before switching to the drums, playing them with a ferocious intensity that matched hers.