Letitia Vansant - Wow, what a crowd tonight as it is nearly wall-to-wall people here. And although it's Friday night and party time for most, they are quite respectful of a woman with a ukulele. Quickly she brought a bass player and drummer to the stage. She switched to banjo and acoustic guitar as well. Instrumentally, things were on the light side with not a lot of flourish anywhere. But the songs were nice and there was all the more space for her voice which mixed the sweet+power recipe rather well. She added a keyboardist after a few songs which seemed to be the missing ingredient to change the backing material into fuller songs. The attitude was great on stage and the crowd fed it right back, so a nice sense of camaraderie and fun was established.
Cat Martino - Funny, I was thinking of Marissa Nadler at times during this set from this solo artist from Brooklyn, and now I see she toured Europe with her. But Fursaxa came to mind more as Cat Martino used her voice as the main instrument with lovely loops. The first song was very avant space trippy which is always a great place to start in the Velvet Lounge. She plays guitar and electric piano in the rest of the songs and heads a little more toward modern folk territory. She did one cover song at the end, which if I heard correctly was the Cure's "Love Song". Someone will pounce if I'm wrong. No matter, the original material was varied and interesting. Nice set and if you want to see it again, she'll be at the Rock'n'Roll Hotel opening for the excellent War on Drugs in a couple of weeks.
The Loom - I am a huge fan of this band and took for granted that this would be a great set. It was, for both for me and the large crowd tonight. I think they are on their way to establishing a solid fan base, and it was nice to see them on the road in the midwest on east promoting their new album (to be reviewed here shortly). The album switches directions in a rather subtle way, although the set covered all compass points. Years back I felt this was a sharp Americana indie rock band with a little psyche sprinkling in their sound. Now, they seem far more urban. The roots are still there, but the arrangements and vocal qualities put them in a wonderful space between Espers and Faun Fables. Aside from the solid rhythm section, it's the additional percussion, keys and brass that really create some intriguing counterpoints to the guitar/banjo and vocal melodies. The French horn is a great touch and reminds me of the ever-intriguing Do Make Say Think. They can rock it up or folk it back, but they have a deft touch with every shift they make. It is always nice to see a band experiment so well and retain a command of a sound that you do not hear every day. The Loom does it, does it well, and hopefully the future continues to shine for this Brooklyn band.
The Echo Wall - Apologies to the band, but there was not way they were going to start until well after one and I had my usual 20 minute walk and 20-30 minutes with my cat before bedtime. Plus Arsenal started playing at 7:30 this morning. I have enjoyed this local band and have reviewed them twice this year, so you can read about them here if you like.
Quote of the Night: Cat Martino thanking the crowd and inviting them to the merch table... "Come say hi, stay in touch, stalk me on the internet and I'll stalk you back."