The band plays solid, catchy music that’s charming and full of… well… joy. I have to say, out of all the Strokes’ members side projects (Albert Hammond Jr’s solo ventures, Nikolai Fraiture’s band Nickel Eye), Little Joy is perhaps the most refined and eclectic. It’s no doubt that Rodrigo Amarante’s notable career as an accomplished singer songwriter has had a dynamic and positive effect on the band’s mature sound.
Drawing band support from long-time Strokes compadre Matt Romano (drums) along with guitar power from Michael Ian Cummings and Matthew Borg from opener The Dead Trees, the band had an impressive, complete sound. Perhaps it’s testament to the individual experience of each of the band members, but was hard to believe that this band is on it’s first live tour–although there were some starts and stops, for the most part the performance was a well-oiled machine, where the music flowed freely and easily from their instruments and mouths.
They also dished out a new untitled song. Check it out in the video of the song below. Try to ignore the girl with the camcorder… she was up there the whole time w/ her video cam:
Little Joy @ Mercury Lounge, NYC from l on Vimeo.
Fellow NYC musicians Albert Hammond Jr. and Steve Schiltz of Longwave were on hand to cheer their buddy on.
Definitely a charming debut for this fun new little band.
Boston pop-rockers The Dead Trees were also on the bill. Their sound at times is reminiscent of Wilco and Ben Kweller. Knowing nothing of this band prior to seeing them live, I was simultaneously impressed and confused by them. Their songs are polished–they feel catchy and upbeat when the tunes are being played live, however I think some of the songs lack a really big hook payoff that would really make them shine.
I do think they are a band who you can grow to love if you sit down and become familiar with their music. I think this band definitely has the potential to get big… their music and showmenship completely lends itself to gaining a grassroots fan following. They will surely benefit from extensive touring over the next few years.
Young Brooklyn-based upstart Luke Rathborne also opened the night with a soothing start, with his blend of atmospheric, Jeff Buckley-meets-Bob Dylan crooning and strumming. The singer, who only turned 21 last month, is currently working on his debut album with members of The Johnsons–as in Antony and the Johnsons.
There was one “I can’t believe this is happening” moment occurred during Luke’s set. A photographer dude, who was all up in Luke’s grill for a good majority of the set–despite the fact that no one else was standing up front–must have had his phone on vibrate, which is good.
But the unfortunate part came when his phone vibrated, he picked it up, and proceeded respond to the other person on the line (“YEAH, I’M AT THE MERCURY LOUNGE AT A SHOW…”) in a loud voice during a quiet and delicate song. Other audience members were shocked and appalled–vocally gasping as their mouths hung agape. Fabrizio himself expedited the disruption by escorting the uncouth photographer to the door outside.
Sad you were shut out of the Little Joy show last night? There are a few more chances in the NYC area: Friday 11/14 – Hoboken, NJ – Maxwell’s, Saturday 11/15 – Asbury Park, NJ – Wonder Bar. Little Joy will also play a free gig at Virgin Megatore Union Square on Monday around 7pm. Bring your copies of their new album (who’s haunting girl in swimming pool cover picture was shot by Devendra Bernhardt’s mother) for the band to sign.
SETLIST: Evaporar, Unattainable, Play the Part, Shoulder to Shoulder, Brand New Start, Next Time Around, Happiness, With Strangers, Don’t Watch Me Dancing, How to Hang a Warhol, No One’s Better Sake, Untitled new song, Keep Me In Mind
RELATED: Read a recent interview w/ the band from the Boston Globe. More reviews at Look at me, I made a blog, Vicarious Music, Brooklyn Vegan, Check out the Dead Trees’ Daytrotter Session and on Local Cut