Posted in music | pictures on August 4, 2010

photos by Amanda Hatfield, words by Rachel Kowal

Pat Jordache

The Rock Shop may have been open for a couple of months now, but last night's show marked the official party to celebrate the new Park Slope venue (the first show happened a month earlier). The Rock Shop is kind of like a smaller version of the Mercury Lounge (minus the door between the bar and the show space). There's a bar lining the wall as you walk in, and the concert space is in the back. There are even benches lining both walls like at the Mercury Lounge. But the Rock Shop benefits by having additional space upstairs with large open windows that look onto 4th Ave.

For such a small room (max capacity 120) the bill was pretty solid thanks in part to the venue's booker, Skippy McFadden, who formerly booked artists at both the Bell House and Union Hall. Just Sunday night, the 'surprise' headliner, tUnE-yArDs, opened for St. Vincent in Central Park.

But first up was a short set by a last-minute addition, Pat Jordache. Jordache and his two-man backing band (including the drummer of The Acorn) are apparently friends with tUnE-yArDs' Merrill Garbus, who danced a bit in the crowd during their set. With a full line-up of women scheduled for the evening, it was nice to get a little testosterone in the mix, too.

I expected the two main openers to put on a good show, but I hadn't heard a thing about Lady Lamb & the Beekeeper. Given the clunky and cutesy name, I was somewhat skeptical going into the set, but singer-songwriter Aly Spaltro quickly won me over with her beautiful lyrics, husky voice, guitar playing skills, and earnest little kid-like eyes. Unlike the other artists on the bill, Aly powered through her set alone. There were no bells and whistles, just a girl and a couple of guitars, and the result was stunning. Ally's voice is deep and raw. During the dramatic parts of her songs she rocks out on her electric guitar and nearly sings herself hoarse. Then without warning her voice becomes soft and sweet.

Up next was the Brooklyn transplant, Sharon Van Etten, who masterfully crafts heartbreaking (but ultimately triumphant) songs. Sharon began her first song solo, but was soon joined by her backing band, which included birthday girl Cat Martino on backing vox. Her new record, Epic, is slated to drop until October, but she had copies available for sale and showcased a number of songs during her set. The crowd responded fondly to the new material, prompting Sharon to comment, "I've never ever seen people bob their heads to my music before." She encouraged the warm, familial mood in the room by sweetly dedicating a song to her mother, who was present at the show.

tUnE-YarDs

Upon the conclusion of Sharon's set, the mood in the room became more frenetic in anticipation of tUnE-yArDs, the main act. After setting up the beat to her first song, "Hatari," Merrill Garbus offered a brief word of introduction. As the beat continued to pulse through the speakers, she inquired, "Can you dance to it?" before continuing, "Not that New Yorkers dance. I know you don't dance. Only in your bathrooms after you've pooped... Oh, New Yorkers don't poop." And with a knowing laugh from the crowd, she began to sing.

It's hard to know what to say about Merrill Garbus' dramatic musical project tUnE-yArDs that hasn't already been said. Either you're down with the tribal-like beats, fierce delivery, and zany presentation or you're talking at the back of the bar. Either way, seeing Merrill perform is an experience. When the stage allows for it, she takes advantage of the space and surrounds herself with a host of musical collaborators, but there was no room for a drum circle on the Rock Shop's small stage. Instead, Merrill handled the percussion herself, looping together upwards of 7 or 8 tracks at a time to create a rich, full-bodied sound. Merrill was also accompanied by Nate Brenner on bass and, for a few songs, a trio of brass players.

Though there were brief technical issues when Merrill began to play "Safety" on the ukulele, the audience didn't seem to mind the lull in the set. "Take your time!" "Just figure it out!" they shouted encouragingly as Merrill tried to rectify the situation. But eventually, she just had to give up. "Sorry. I just can't hear it at all. It just won't work [...] But I'll still play a good song. " And with that, she launched into the whimsical song "News."

Since she currently only has one album under her belt, Merrill has been playing many of the same songs at her shows, and the audience was fairly familiar with her material. When Merrill began to shout the question, "Do you want to live?" she was met by a resounding "YES!" before she had a chance to offer an explanation or a prompt. Fans of tUnE-yArDs will be glad to hear that new music is on the horizon. "This is the last time I will be playing this song ["Hatari"] in New York City before I finish a new album... so there," Merrill declared near the beginning of her set.

Following up her impressively strange debut BiRd-BrAiNs will be a difficult feat, but something tells me Merrill Garbus is up for the challenge.

More pictures from the show with Sharon and Merrill's setlists, below...

Pat Jordache

Pat Jordache

Pat Jordache

Pat Jordache

Pat Jordache

Pat Jordache

Pat Jordache

Pat Jordache

Pat Jordache

Pat Jordache

Pat Jordache

Pat Jordache

Lady Lamb The Beekeeper

Lady Lamb The Beekeeper

Lady Lamb The Beekeeper

Lady Lamb The Beekeeper

Lady Lamb The Beekeeper

Lady Lamb The Beekeeper

Lady Lamb The Beekeeper

Lady Lamb The Beekeeper

Lady Lamb The Beekeeper

Lady Lamb The Beekeeper

Sharon Van Etten

Sharon Van Etten

Sharon Van Etten

Sharon Van Etten

Sharon Van Etten

Sharon Van Etten

Sharon Van Etten

Sharon Van Etten

Sharon Van Etten

Sharon Van Etten

Sharon Van Etten

tUnE-YarDs

tUnE-YarDs

tUnE-YarDs

tUnE-YarDs

tUnE-YarDs

tUnE-YarDs

tUnE-YarDs

tUnE-YarDs

tUnE-YarDs

tUnE-YarDs

tUnE-YarDs

tUnE-YarDs

tUnE-YarDs

tUnE-YarDs

tUnE-YarDs

Sharon Van Etten set list
A Crime
Peace Sign
Save Yourself
Don't Do It
Love More
One Day
[new song]

--
tUnE-yArDs set list (new song names are approximate)
Hatari
What's That About?
Fiya
Gangsta / My Hood
Real Live Flesh
Safety News
Do You Want to Live?
Jumping Jack
Don't Take My Life Away
Encore
Powa

---

      

Comments (34)

yo, what is this broad's problem?

Posted by Anonymous | August 4, 2010 9:19 AM

skippy mcfadden is the biggest douchebag in brooklyn.

Posted by dingo truth | August 4, 2010 9:22 AM

Welcome to Club Middle Aged!

Posted by Anonymous | August 4, 2010 9:23 AM

SVE in a skirt?! Be still, my beating heart.

Posted by Anonymous | August 4, 2010 9:24 AM

does this venue have a stroller check?

Posted by Anonymous | August 4, 2010 9:40 AM

That chick from TY is scary lookin...That's all I'm sayin..

Posted by Anonymous | August 4, 2010 9:40 AM

pat jordache used to be in the band Sister Suvi with Merrill and play guitar in Islands

Posted by Anonymous | August 4, 2010 9:41 AM

Lady Lamb was good, only caught about half of her set.

SVE was wonderful, awesome new material, but her rhythm section didn't do her or it justice.

TY - what can I say, this is the way to see this band, Merril and Nate are incredible and the energy they bring to a room like the Rock Shop reminds everyone why they like live music.

Posted by Anonymous | August 4, 2010 9:52 AM

/ skippy mcfadden is the biggest douchebag in brooklyn.

aw, you meant cutest, right?

Posted by Anonymous | August 4, 2010 10:06 AM

SVE has a Mercury Lounge show on sale this Friday at Noon (link). And Kyp Malone performing as "opener".

Posted by Mercury show too! | August 4, 2010 10:08 AM

I know this is off-topic, but was there any mention of Jack White's Brooklynvegan shout out at the DW show last night?

Posted by Drugs Delaney | August 4, 2010 10:38 AM

I wonder how long its gonna take skippy to tank THIS club....who wants to place bets?

Posted by Anonymous | August 4, 2010 11:21 AM

"Club Middle Aged"....perfect....Thats what the Bell House was becoming....probably why they kicked his little faggot ass out of there...

Posted by Anonymous | August 4, 2010 11:24 AM

Hey 11:21, if you are willing to un-anonymous yourself, I AM!

Posted by Anonymous | August 4, 2010 11:37 AM

Who are you people? Don't you have anything better to do? Whatever happened to "if you don't have anything nice to say. . ."

Posted by astounded | August 4, 2010 11:38 AM

>>> Who are you people

Person.

Posted by Anonymous | August 4, 2010 11:40 AM

If you don't have something nice to "say" (as in speak aloud) "write it" here in the comments section!

Posted by ImMature | August 4, 2010 12:00 PM

I am so glad that I saw Tune-Yards before Merrill Garbus got some sort of fawning fanbase that will make all future shows insufferable.

Posted by LKJ | August 4, 2010 12:12 PM

it's not in prospect park, it's on 4th avenue...

Posted by Anonymous | August 4, 2010 12:18 PM

Who said Prospect Park? The article clearly states that it's in Park Slope.

Posted by Anonymous | August 4, 2010 12:33 PM

As an aside, were she not performing last night, would Lady Lamb the Beekeeper even be allowed in the club? She looks 16.

Posted by Anonymous | August 4, 2010 12:34 PM

Let's hope so! AMIRIGHT?!

Posted by Anonymous | August 4, 2010 12:39 PM

I think its funny when anonymous people yell at anonymous people to become un-anonymous...

Posted by Skippy Is A Douchebag | August 4, 2010 1:13 PM

9:24 Me too!

Posted by Anonymous | August 4, 2010 1:30 PM

Lady Lamb The Beekeeper. No ampersand.

Posted by Anonymous | August 4, 2010 3:11 PM

Amen, LKJ.

Posted by Anonymous | August 4, 2010 6:29 PM

Epic is such a great album. Marry me, Sharon.

Posted by Anonymous | August 4, 2010 7:47 PM

The recent trend of bands using facepaint is interesting, but I encourage them to try decorating their faces with hummus. Unlike facepaint, if the hot stage lighting causes hummus to drip into their mouths, they will get a fortifying mid-concert snack.

Posted by Anonymous | August 4, 2010 8:14 PM

THROW SOME WATER ON IT - DAVID SANDERSON

Posted by Anonymous | August 4, 2010 10:44 PM

This room is deadly. Breath of fresh air, literally...if count roof air on 4th Ave in Brooklyn as fresh, which I do.

Posted by NorthBuffalo | August 5, 2010 8:11 AM

What's That About from tUnE-yArDs' set is actually off 4AD's Record Store Day release. The song is actually called "You Yes You".

I missed the show but totally wished I didn't. Sounds like an interesting night filled with awesome music.

Posted by Spaz | August 7, 2010 3:04 AM

way to go, spaz

Posted by Anonymous | August 8, 2010 1:35 AM

Did he do it yet? Did he sink The Rock Shop yet?

Posted by Anonymous | August 10, 2010 1:06 PM

It's great music by Sharon. I wonder if so many people respond so strongly because they're finding themselves going through the same thing.
At the end of the escape and vicarious living though whoever is listening to the music remains in the shit and are annonymous and alone.

Posted by Dav | November 12, 2010 4:14 PM

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