EMA and Downtown Boys played Rough Trade NYC w/ Owel (pics & video)
photos by Amanda Hatfield, words by Andrew Sacher
EMA / Downtown Boys @ Rough Trade NYC - 5/9/14
EMA wrapped up her tour with Downtown Boys over the weekend, hitting NYC on Friday (5/9) at Rough Trade. Pictures of the show, including one of EMA's setlist, are in this post.
Local openers Owel kicked off the show with their mix of emo-tinged rock and atmospheric arena tendencies, and then came EMA's tourmates Downtown Boys, who completely changed the vibe in the room. Their singer spent most of the time on the floor, and the other musicians often joined her. Meanwhile, a few crowd members (who the band appeared to know personally) spent the show dancing on stage. In between songs, the band preached equality for all genders, races and sexual orientations, and delivered these speeches in both Spanish and English. (She once pointed out how when she spoke in Spanish it was alienating to the non-Spanish speakers as an example of how many groups of people feel alienated in American society.) The band's hi-speed, danceable saxophone-fueled punk was also a total party. If you've yet to see them, I strongly recommend catching their show at Shea (5/29) at the end of the month.
Then came EMA, who may have put on the best set I've seen of hers yet. Songs like "Satellites" and "Chtulu" from the new record sounded huge, and when she reached back for old favorites like "California," those smaller, introspective songs sounded as gigantic as the new stuff. Not that there wasn't diversity or anything. Friday's show included the noise-folk of "Marked," the industrial leanings of "Neuromancer," the '90s-style alt-rock of "So Blonde,"and the sparse ballad "Dead Celebrity," which closes her new album and appropriately closed the pre-encore set. Partially because of that mix, there wasn't a part of the show that was feeling samey or like it was dragging. If anything, it easily could have gone on longer.
More pictures of all three bands, with a video of "California," below...
EMA - "California" at Rough Trade NYC - 5/9/14