I dubbed Day 3 as “ladies night” since the three bands I’d planned to see were all fronted by women.
First up was an extremely early set by the Montreal, Quebec-based quartet, Braids, who were playing the opening spot at the showcase at Arlene’s Grocery. As the crowd waited for the show to start, they filled their bellies with cups of the Canadian comfort food poutine, which was being served in foam cups to the audience.
I absolutely loved their set. Lead singer Raphaelle Strandell-Preston kinda looks like an even tinier, dark-haired Alyson Hannigan, with a wide-eyed look and an innocent face. But when Raphaelle sings, she has a sweet yet piercing voice that can quickly turn a beautiful croon into a surprisingly edgy growl. Her voice seemingly skips, jumps, and hops slowly building swells of the keyboards, guitars, and drums. Their music is quirky and beautiful, much like the Dirty Projectors, but with a bit more playfulness.
After a quick dinner and an impromptu After the Jump reunion, I headed into Pianos to check out the Brooklyn-based songstress Lia Ices. Lia (pronounced “Lee-uh”) Ices is one of those incredibly beautiful, lithe girls who don’t need any makeup to look absolutely stunning, which makes the rest of us feel like schlumpy messes. But she is also the kinda of girl that you can see yourself being friends with because of her shy yet warm demeanor.
With a backing band dressed all in white and consisting of a drummer, bassist, and guitarist (who happened to be her brother), Lia performed much of the set perched behind her keyboard. She reminds me a lot like a less angry Fiona Apple, with piano-based melodies and pretty vocals. And as a performer she’s composed and collected, quietly in control. Her show doesn’t necessarily have a “wow” factor because it is quite subdued, but for those who like subtle elegance, this is the girl for you.
To cap off the evening, I headed back to Brooklyn for the Mexican Summer showcase where Tamaryn were doing a late night set.
With all the lights turned off, and a dreamy/creepy video projecting intermittently casting an eerie glow on the face of lead singer Tamaryn, the atmosphere was a perfect complement to the bands darky and looming music. Dressed in black fringe, and sporting long black hair with chunky bangs, the New Zealand-born front woman reminded me of a modern day Stevie Nicks meets Bettie Paige. As their murky death metal chic-songs filled the air, and the clock inched closer and closer toward 2 AM, I slunk out of the venue and into the night.
Some other scenes from the night: