Banners @ Mercury Lounge (11/06/17)
Originally Banners was supposed to tour with Echosmith and play the Theatre Of Living Arts (Philadelphia, PA) on 11/9. I was so excited when I heard that news. Then the Echosmith tour was postponed and Banners would no longer be a part of it. That was terrible news because all I wanted to do was see Banners perform live again. Is that too much for a music fan to ask!?!
I remember I first heard Banners music on AltNation and immediately knew that his music was something special. The first thing from Banners’ music that caught my attention was THAT VOICE. It’s a voice with such an amazing sound that I would gladly listen to endlessly and having heard it I would never want to lose that sound. That voice belongs to Liverpool born singer-songwriter Michael Nelson who goes by the stage name Banners. So, you can imagine how excited I was when the AltNation Advanced Placement Tour came to The Foundry (3/10/16) and Banners was on the bill with The Moth and The Flame along with Pop Etc. That show was SO GOOD, and I got to see some great bands.
Anyways, when I found out Banners would be playing the Mercury Lounge on 11/6 I knew that missing the opportunity to see Banners live again was not an option. This show had “I WANT TO GO TO THERE” written all over it. So, I went there. Banners had the closing set of Monday night’s early show at the Mercury Lounge. Banners played a full-band performance with a real rock show experience. The set list included songs from Banners latest ep ‘Empires On Fire’ (released last Friday) as well as other material. There were even times of comical stage banter. It was nice to see an artist who truly seemed to be grateful to play to a sold-out crowd full of fans. It was perfect.
Dean Lewis @ Mercury Lounge (11/06/17)
The opening set belonged to Dean Lewis. He played a solo set alternating song-by-song between playing the keyboard or the guitar. Up until Monday night I had no knowledge of Dean Lewis’ music. And sometimes it’s nice to go into a show with a clean slate and no preconceptions about an artist’s music. Then you can leave it all up to the performance to decide whether you like what you heard. Thankfully Dean Lewis did not disappoint, and I enjoyed his entire set. I’m going to have to do some Dean Lewis music shopping now.
Well, if my thoughts have failed to convey the fact that I am a huge fan of Banners’ music then I apologize because that was my intent. Also, I am a new fan of Dean Lewis’ music and am wondering why no one ever mentioned his music to me before. Oh well, I’ll call it a better-late-than-never moment. I must thank Banners, Dean Lewis, and the Mercury Lounge for a great night of music and a memorable show.
On a side note, I wish I brought my real camera because these iPhone photos are sad. Hehe 🙂
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“We All Dance Like Fire” is from the upcoming release, ‘City Stars’ by Aquino, a Cuban-Rican indie musician from New Jersey. The song opens with soft vocals, guitar, and distant harmonies. “Never say adieu, and run away / There’s no one who could steal the day like you” are the beginning lyrics and create a heartfelt start. I can’t help but be wowed by the lyrics “we love the sway of all the moments through the lens of age” for the description just works wonderfully. The song ends with a repetitive almost echoed “we all dance like fire, baby” as if a final gusto of emotion.
As Aquino states, “the last song [on the ‘City Stars’ EP], ‘We All Dance Like Fire”, is a reflection on who I’ve become and a personal dedication to my wife.” Maybe that’s why the song exudes such a beautiful vibe in such an effortless way—meaning this song is brimming with charm. Give “We All Dance Like Fire” by Aquino a listen.
Join Aquino Saturday, October 14th, at The Little Theater in the Bloomfield Public Library for an album release party with Laree Cisco | 2PM – 4PM | Tickets $10/person – proceeds will be donated to the ConPRmetidos Hurricane María and Irma Recovery Fund | More info
‘Honey’ is the debut EP from Brother Sundance, a young singer-songwriter from South Florida. Regardless of how Brother Sundance was brought to my attention I am writing about this artist because his music deserves the respect of our ears and our attention. Brother Sundance’s ‘Honey’ is well worth a listen or few.
This EP is a collection of songs with an interstellar sound. Somewhere between the alternative rock, electronic, indie pop sound I feel like I’m floating in space and that’s fine with me. The first track, “Monsters”, contains the exaggerated “do” that is piercing and memorable. As that angry yet determined male voice sings “I told her I would DO all I could to be the man she needs. I told her I would DO all I could to fight the worst in me.” The next track, “Blind”, is a song that I’ve heard on Radio 104.5 a few times. It’s a good track and I liked it when I heard it on the radio but I’m not sure it’s the best representation of Brother Sundance. Had I not been contacted by Brother Sundance’s people I don’t think I would have given this artist another chance based on “Blind” alone. Then again, with over a million streams worldwide on Apple Music—what do I know!?!
I’ve become a fan of the male vocals in these songs because its rich tone is so inviting, warm and honest. Making the lyrics “beauty sees what beauty does and loves the things that beauty loves/beauty be my enemy and weapon for the lucky ones” sound so sincere. Also, hearing that voice sing that final “so we stay at home” on “Bad Love” gives those lyrics so much more meaning and emotion. Don’t get me wrong, the female vocals heard on this EP are good and just as important which had me confused when I learned that Brother Sundance is Rylan Talerico alone. I wrongfully assumed this artist was a duo, or possibly a full band.
Brother Sundance’s live show debut was in Philly yesterday (9/16) at Radio 104.5’s Endless Summer Show at XFinity Live. I am jealous of anyone who got to see Brother Sundance’s performance at that show. I love live music and I wish I could have been there. Oh well, at least I have the beautiful music of ‘Honey’ to play on repeat and ease the pain of knowing that I probably missed a great show.
Here’s “Blind” from Brother Sundance’s debut EP ‘Honey’
Brother Sundance: Website | Facebook | Twitter | iTunes
It was so good to see Psalmships (Joshua Britton accompanied by Carl Cheeseman) at Bourbon & Branch (Philadelphia, PA) Wednesday night. I haven’t seen Psalmships perform live in a few years. I think that made the show feel extra special. I was definitely missing that live Psalmships sound. In case you were wondering, the Psalmships duo of Joshua Britton and Carl Cheeseman with electric instruments just works brilliantly. I hope there are more Psalmships shows to come. I’ll be there!
Below are a few photos from Psalmships set Wednesday night at Bourbon & Branch.
Upon entering the Dragonfly Music & Coffee Cafe located in Somerville, NJ I immediately felt its warm, cozy, welcoming atmosphere. The necessary qualities for a music venue that hosts live acoustic shows. The stage area is at the very front of the cafe with the storefront windows as a backdrop with a view of Somerville just outside the store.
After some brief piano playing and words from the host the show began with a set by Sonofdov. The performers played alternating sets in in-the-round fashion. Collectively Sonofdov’s sets included older material like “King of The World”, new material such as “A Low Hush Keel”. There was even a song from a previous band Sonofdov’s Dennis King used to belong to tossed in for his former bandmate was in the audience. In my opinion, this performance keeps Sonofdov in the category of talented singer-songwriters that I am grateful to know, who have my unwavering support, and remind me why I love music.
Emily Barnes was the other singer-songwriter on the bill and the one alternating sets with Sonofdov. Had I done my music homework I might have been able to identify some of Barnes’ songs beforehand but I went into this show with a relatively clean slate for Emily Barnes’ music. Anyways, what I take away from this show about Barnes is that she is a dedicated singer-songwriter, with a beautiful voice, and an ability to take command of a room. Also, she said she’s not a piano player yet she played a few songs on piano with such ease and confidence. Not a piano player—really!?! Well, Emily Barnes, you have my attention now and I am listening.
Overall it was a stellar night of music in a nice venue in a northern New Jersey town. Traveling from the Philadelphia area to the Dragonfly Music & Coffee Café isn’t very convenient but I’ll consider returning if any of my favorites play there or if I happen to be in the neighborhood. As for Friday’s show, I really enjoyed the experience. Plus, it was nice to see two artists who spoke so highly of each other and are true fans of each other’s work. Sometimes I hear artists say such things but I’m not convinced it’s true—this time it seemed undeniably genuine.
Have a moment? Give these artists a listen.
Sonofdov: Website | Facebook | Bandcamp
Emily Barnes: Website | Facebook | Bandcamp
This week Sonofdov released a new single titled “A Low Hush Keel”. This song was written and recorded in the spring of this year and is the first song in a set of new recordings. Being surprised with this new single made my day and listening to “A Low Hush Keel” makes my ears smile.
“A Low Hush Keel” opens with the crisp sole sound of a prominently strummed acoustic guitar. Next, comes the lull of those beautifully harmonious oohs. Then, the main attraction, the unassertive yet noticeably sincere timbre of Sonofdov’s (singer-songwriter Dennis King) voice. You might recognize the chorus from Sonofdov’s previously released single, “Night Vision”. The familiarity of the chorus only adds to the musical cohesion.
Lyric-wise “A Low Hush Keel” adheres to Sonofdov standards—solid songwriting by way of bold imagery with a touch of mystery. I mean, don’t the lyrics “but darkness is the devil and the devil was her friend” make you pause and think? And the quiet plea “please don’t lose control” is repeated just enough times to make you believe in its importance.
While listening to this song you might feel like a spectator in someone else’s life, almost like a scene out of a movie, and you’ll be glad that you were there to witness it. “A Low Hush Keel” is the embodiment of a peaceful timeless world and the kind of song that you might listen to if you needed an escape.
“A Low Hush Keel” is available now for download via Bandcamp.com.