Back in June, I saw the Dirty Projectors play to a crowd of a few hundred kids at the Rufustival in Baltimore. It was the week before the release of Bitte Orca and I remarked at the time that it seemed, “a foregone conclusion that after years spent as an opening act, the band will soon graduate to headliner status,” What a difference a few months makes. Last week, I elbowed my way to the front of Washington D.C.‘s renowned Black Cat, to watch the Projectors play to a sold out crowd of 700. From the first song on, it was clear that it wasn’t just the band’s draw that had changed—rather, the Dirty Projectors had grown along with their audience.
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Paw Tracks Showcase
Cameo Gallery, Brooklyn
The fizzy lo-fi of Annie Sachs, a.k.a. Tickley Feather, enchanted audience members at the small-space high-ceilinged Cameo Gallery on Friday. Alongside four other Paw Tracks greats, and her self-proclaimed biggest fans (members of Animal Collective) in attendance, Sachs churned out eerie, whimsical electro bringing to mind Tracy + the Plastics with a great deal more subtlety. Her live vocals are a different story from her records—otherworldly—even Kate Bush or Emilíana Torrini-esque, and expertly placed over budget electronics. It was a treat to hear Sachs’ voice stand out, unadulterated. Her tone is that of experience while her live sound remains light and accessible, however, with two bizarre albums under her belt, I’ll be waiting with bated breath to hear what fanciful direction Tickley Feather is capable of going next.
As long as The Foreign Exchange is performing, no one can ever even think about showmanship being dead. The eight-piece band that took the stage of B.B. King’s Blues Club & Grille on Friday night moved the crowd in a way that few acts are capable. And it all started at 1 a.m. As such, you would think a show starting that late would lend itself to a somewhat less-than-energetic audience. But that was simply not the case—this is New York City we’re talking about.
Cake Shop, New York City
No frills here. Slang Chickens bathed the cavernish Cake Shop in sleepy southern harmonies lifted by a charmingly confident frontman Friday night. The four-piece was stripped to the bone-–with three-part harmonies drifting across country guitar lines—but the group injected occasional shots of caffeine that kept it from dragging. Nothing awe-inspiring, but by the same token a solid set from a group worth checking out.
Bowery Ballroom, New York City
Imaad Wasif is chock full of two things: Hair and love. In case you weren’t certain of the latter half of that combo, Wasif took the time to remind the crowd at Bowery Ballroom… after every song: “I love the city. I love being insane. I love being insanely in love.” Though Wasif was somewhat awkward while trying to make conversation with the crowd between songs, he was at home while performing his brand of classic rock. All of his songs, all of which he was quick to point out were “love songs,” were well-crafted and well-performed. Wasif was the star of the show, but would have been helped if he had a more animated supporting cast—his bassist and drummer seemed disinterested no matter how much Wasif thrashed about the stage. I’m not certain I really felt the love like Wasif, but perhaps if I find the man he awkwardly hugged at the end of his set, he could shed some light.