Junip & Lost in the Trees played Irving Plaza (pics, setlist)
photos by Toby Tenenbaum, words by Rachel Kowal
The members of Junip may not have celebrated Thanksgiving growing up, but the Swedish group's music was perfect for Wednesday night's lazy, pre-holiday haze.
The evening began with a set by the talented group Lost in the Trees. From watching the cheerful interactions among the musicians on stage, it may be tempting to write off the North Carolinians as a bit too precious, but chief songwriter/composer Ari Picker's dark lyrics and foreboding orchestral solos are often anything but sweet and innocent. Dead babies, dashed hopes, dirty secrets, and sick hearts were all mentioned in the band's opening song, "All Alone in an Empty House." With the lyrics in mind, all those knowing glances exchanged on stage take on the sinister tone of a conniving group of co-conspirators.
The band may not have directly serenaded the audience by unplugging their instruments and hopping off stage as is often the case at their shows, but their performance was certainly not lacking in bravado. The audience easily warmed to their satisfying set.
Following Lost in the Trees, a strange series of projected images and videos (like psychedelic shadow puppets and car-driving cats) filled the screen as a way to distract concert-goers during the set-up process. Then, the screen lifted and Junip began to play at 9:45 sharp.
Even those who are relatively new to Junip may recognize the dulcet tones of José González on vox. What may come as a surprise is that González began making music with Junip more than four years before he embarked on successful career as a solo artist. Junip retains González' understated, largely indecipherable vocals and serious guitar work while boasting peppier percussion and fuller instrumentation thanks to collaborators Elias Araya and Tobias Winterkorn. Now, after over a decade of sporadic activity, the group has embarked on a more serious regimen to coincide with the recent release of Fields.
In my personal experience, getting used to a bedroom musician's work with a band can be rough (Iron & Wine, anybody?), but since this project's name denotes a departure from José González, the solo artist, Junip becomes much easier to digest and enjoy.
Junip's setlist, more pictures from the show, and a Big Ass Lens profile of the band that was filmed at the show, below...
Lost in the Trees
Profile - Junip from Big Ass Lens on Vimeo.
Junip Set list
Rope and Summit
To the Grain
In Every Direction