Jay Som, the Oakland indie rock band led by Melina Duterte, are on tour now in support of their excellent Polyvinyl debut, Everybody Works. The first time I saw Melina she was playing solo, opening for Mitski and Japanese Breakfast, but she's currently on the road with a full band. That band recently hit Austin during SXSW -- where they played the BrooklynVegan/Sound on Sound-presented Lost Weekend -- and last night (3/29) they hit NYC for a headlining show at Baby's All Right. The place was sold out and totally packed, and the crowd was definitely loving Jay Som. The drummer asked everyone to yell the "but I like the bus!" part of "The Bus Song," and it seemed like every single person in that room did it at the top of their lungs. (The crowd also loudly sang the "Take time to figure it out" part of the chorus without being asked.)
Jay Som played a good chunk of the new album and plenty of older cuts too, and Melina sounded great during all of it. She's really got a unique sound down -- bright, reverby, dream pop guitars meeting her powerful, slightly more emo voice. And she's got (impressive) guitar solos in just about every song. "I gotta stop doing that," she joked on stage, to a resounding "NO!!!!" from the crowd. It's clear that Melina is ready for bigger and bigger stages, though her backing band doesn't quite gel just yet. The bassist clearly has chops (though he kinda overplays), but they all seemed a bit too in their own world, not exactly meshing as a unified group. Still, it's worth catching them if you can.
Jay Som's got two more NYC appearances lined up at the moment: another headlining show on June 6 at Rough Trade (tickets), and a big Northside Festival show opening for Dirty Projectors and Kamasi Washington in McCarren Park on June 8 (tickets).
Opening the Baby's show was Vancouver trio The Courtneys, who recently released their new album II on Flying Nun. It's a nice dose of sorta-punky indie pop, and it's got some very catchy songs. They split their set last night between that album and their debut (which a good chunk of the crowd was familiar with).
We didn't get photos of the Baby's show, but here's a set of pics of Jay Som at Lost Weekend: