Reviews

Earlymay

Devon Powers
Earlymay

Earlymay

City: New York
Venue: Mercury Lounge
Date: 2004-06-23
The Killers have left the building. And yes, it does feel as if someone -- Dick Clark, Kasey Kasem, Ed Sullivan -- should be present here, to deliver the somber news with that grave, stilted, '50s-esque announcer voice. The floor is a sticky mess; girls are in tears; the line that snaked toward the Mercury Lounge's entrance from down the block has finally been dismantled. The Killers -- hope, hype, and all -- have departed. And Earlymay are still here, located awkwardly as the night's denouement. They very well may be playing one of the most difficult bill slots I've ever witnessed in all my years of show going. Not that the Killers were beyond reproach -- having seen the Las Vegas foursome play before, they were capable of much more confidence, much more precision. But the expectation -- not to mention a fair number of the people -- is gone. What's remains? What does it mean when an event ends, and you're left to knock out a plain old rock show? It's a testament to the resolve and determination of Earlymay, then, that they not only sallied proudly into their set, but carried it off with determination, grace, and gumption. Moreover, in the wake of the Killers -- who, for better or worse, have more doctored-up artifice than you can shake a stick at -- Earlymay were refreshingly earnest, playing their emotionally rich music with a passionate, honest engine relentlessly driving it forward. Tonight they were the underdog, but for those who stayed, they demonstrated that they're not interested in playing the same old game. There were no tricks, no gimmicks, no fancy outfits, and no airs. Just purity, heart, electricity, dedication, and warmth. Of course, I'm being somewhat unfair to paint the event like this. Rather than playing to an empty room peopled just with their girlfriends, family members and yours truly, Earlymay drew an ample crowd, pockets of whom were clearly regular followers. Their music -- which might shorthandedly be described as emo, but replaces the self-deprecation and adolescence with cheerfulness and maturity -- incited in their audience manifold reactions, listeners caught somewhere between reverential stillness, peaceful swaying, and balls-out rocking. Indeed, their music incites all three reactions at once. Bradley Peterson, lead vocalist and guitarist, sings with a grainy tenor, simultaneously calm and agitating. Bassist Scott Peterson's backing vocals are lighter and sweeter, like adding sugar and cream to coffee. The ragged, loud music which emanates from the guitars, bass, and kit counterbalance this but also form its kinetic center, centrifugally churning the momentum outward. In anticipation of their forthcoming EP Little Answers, Earlymay peppered their live show with new material. And their gracious stage banter proved as well that their unaffectedness isn't simply on a musical level. They thanked their fans for waiting, gave concise insights into songs before they played them, and had an ease on stage that rivaled that of much more seasoned acts. Without the mountains of expectancy, Earlymay had only themselves to impress, and in the process managed to impress all of us.

Music

Books

Film

Recent
Music

Colombia's Simón Mejía Plugs Into the Natural World on 'Mirla'

Bomba Estéreo founder Simón Mejía electrifies nature for a different kind of jungle music on his debut solo album, Mirla.

Music

The Flaming Lips Reimagine Tom Petty's Life in Oklahoma on 'American Head'

The Flaming Lips' American Head is a trip, a journey to the past that one doesn't want to return to but never wants to forget.

Music

Tim Bowness of No-Man Discusses Thematic Ambition Amongst Social Division

With the release of his seventh solo album, Late Night Laments, Tim Bowness explores global tensions and considers how musicians can best foster mutual understanding in times of social unrest.

Music

Angel Olsen Creates a 'Whole New Mess'

No one would call Angel Olsen's Whole New Mess a pretty album. It's much too stark. But there's something riveting about the way Olsen coos to herself that's soft and comforting.

Music

Masma Dream World Go Global and Trippy on "Sundown Forest" (premiere)

Dancer, healer, musician Devi Mambouka shares the trippy "Sundown Forest", which takes listeners deep into the subconscious and onto a healing path.

Music

Alright Alright's "Don't Worry" Is an Ode for Unity in Troubling Times (premiere)

Alright Alright's "Don't Worry" is a gentle, prayerful tune that depicts the heart of their upcoming album, Crucible.

Music

'What a Fantastic Death Abyss': David Bowie's 'Outside' at 25

David Bowie's Outside signaled the end of him as a slick pop star and his reintroduction as a ragged-edged arty agitator.

Music

Dream Folk's Wolf & Moon Awaken the Senses with "Eyes Closed" (premiere)

Berlin's Wolf & Moon are an indie folk duo with a dream pop streak. "Eyes Closed" highlights this aspect as the act create a deep sense of atmosphere and mood with the most minimal of tools.

Television

Ranking the Seasons of 'The Wire'

Years after its conclusion, The Wire continues to top best-of-TV lists. With each season's unique story arc, each viewer is likely to have favorites.

Film

Paul Reni's Silent Film 'The Man Who Laughs' Is Serious Cinema

There's so much tragedy present, so many skullduggeries afoot, and so many cruel and vindictive characters in attendance that a sad and heartbreaking ending seems to be an obvious given in Paul Reni's silent film, The Man Who Laughs.

Film

What 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?' Gets Right (and Wrong) About America

Telling the tale of the cyclops through the lens of high and low culture, in O'Brother, Where Art Thou? the Coens hammer home a fatalistic criticism about the ways that commerce, violence, and cosmetic Christianity prevail in American society .

Music

The Grahams Tell Their Daughter "Don't Give Your Heart Away" (premiere)

The Grahams' sweet-sounding "Don't Give Your Heart Away" is rooted in struggle, inspired by the couples' complicated journey leading up to their daughter's birth.

Music

Gloom Balloon Deliver an Uplifting Video for "All My Feelings For You" (premiere)

Gloom Balloon's Patrick Tape Fleming considers what making a music video during a pandemic might involve because, well, he made one. Could Fellini come up with this plot twist?

Music

Brian Cullman Gets Bluesy with "Someday Miss You" (premiere)

Brian Cullman's "Someday Miss You" taps into American roots music, carries it across the Atlantic and back for a sound that is both of the past and present.

Music

IDLES Have Some Words for Fans and Critics on 'Ultra Mono'

On their new album, Ultra Mono, IDLES tackle both the troubling world around them and the dissenters that want to bring them down.

Music

Napalm Death Return With Their Most Vital Album in Decades

Grindcore institution Napalm Death finally reconcile their experimental side with their ultra-harsh roots on Throes of Joy in the Jaws of Defeatism.

Film

NYFF: 'Notturno' Looks Passively at the Chaos in the Middle East

Gianfranco Rosi's expansive documentary, Notturno, is far too remote for its burningly immediate subject matter.

Music

The Avett Brothers Go Back-to-Basics with 'The Third Gleam'

For their latest EP, The Third Gleam, the Avett Brothers leave everything behind but their songs and a couple of acoustic guitars, a bass, and a banjo.


Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews



Features
Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.