Thursday, June 12, 2014

Review: Monday and Friday at Zanzabar

Last Monday, Blackbirds of Paradise played at Zanzabar with Gringo Star. Being that it was a seven dollar cover charge, not too many people were in attendance. Lesser bands would've been inhibited by an audience under 20 people, but both acts delivered an unrelenting and energetic performance.

When I arrived at the venue, Black Birds were already a couple songs into their set playing Future Man. What I didn't expect from this band was a live sound as big as their self-titled record that I'd reviewed earlier this year, but I was wrong. Just like the studio, when Black Birds of Paradise take the stage they curate a sonic space that is as wide as it is deep. I'd commented earlier about the tension between the synth and vibraphone parts on their instrumental track "Exotica," but what's more prominent in their performance is the dichotomy between the bass riffs and contrasting vibraphone melodies. All of this became more apparent when compared to their second performance on Friday night, which reprised their new song "Beyond the Closet Door," a droning stumble through a lover's bedroom to meet an ill fated substitution.

Gringo Star took the stage after Black Birds ended. The Atlanta group has received acclaim for every album they've released consecutively. To kick off their tour with a new bassist, the group chose Louisville as their first stop. The band bounced forth from garage rock guitar riffs to baseball-park organ melodies. Though they were at times playing to an audience of only four, Gringo Star held no punches and gave their all to an hour long set. Check out their song "The Start," and join us in wishing them luck for the remainder of their tour.

Lastly, New Brovado closed the Friday night show. I was already familiar with their music from the Sol Similar single they released with Gubbey on Record Store Day, but I've never known quite how to categorize their sound. At times, they played like a power pop band with harmonized vocals and snapping drums. At other times their sludgy power chords were more reminiscent of The Sword or Black Sabbath. Finally, Black Birds drummer Nick Layman said it best after the show when he asked "it sounds like a Tame Impala and Queens of the Stone Age drunkfuck, doesn't it?"

Gringo Star's remaining tour dates are posted below

Thu Jun 12 - Northside Fest @ Shea Stadium - Brooklyn, NY 
Fri Jun 13 - Charlie Os - Montpelier, VT 
Sat Jun 14 - Mercury Lounge - New York, NY 
Wed Jun 18 - Black Cat - Washington , DC 
Thu Jun 19 - Southland Ballroom - Raleigh, NC 
Fri Jun 20 - The Garage - Winston Salem, NC 
Sat Jun 21 - Grey Eagle - Asheville, NC 

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