Friday night marked the beginning of NYC Halloween Weekend 2015, which makes for a very confusing, but also fun game of “is that a Halloween costume, or just a normal New Yorker?” Friday also saw Austin’s The Bright Light Social Hour bring their psychedelic rock dance party to Bowery Ballroom for a night of epic musical proportions. The band has been out on the road nearly non-stop since the spring in support of their recent studio release, Space Is Still The Place.
The members’ quiet demeanor is immediately replaced with musical madness when they perform, and Friday night their matching Baywatch bathing suits with cameltoes to spare weren’t the only thing getting the packed venue rowdy and dancing.
There aren’t many bands that really put a focus onto the unique tone and quality of the equipment they use as these guys do. Guitarist Jack O’Brien’s pedal board might just rival U2’s The Edge, but his tonal diversity, mixed with the wide range of styles in his playing ability is just part of what give the band such an original sound among their competition in pop music today.
Opening up the set with the spacy and dance-beat driven “Dreamlove,” the foursome made a statement right off the bat that they’re a band here to make you dance and keep you entertained from the first note. They followed up with “Aperture” and “Ghost Dance” off the new album as well.
What makes The Bright Light Social Hour truly special is their ability to blend all their unique musical ability into one powerful cohesive unit. O’Brien is a virtuosic player in his own right, but he’s in good company with Curtis Rousch handling any lead bass line during the set, even when he’s singing. Drummer Joseph Mirasole effortlessly covers every piece of his drum kit during their high tempo dance songs even when his unkempt hair is usually in his face, and Edward Braillif is usually working like a wizard between synth/keys and guitar responsibilities.
The other asset that really sets them apart from any other rock band making their way up the ladder today, is their ability to blend different genres across their catalog while still making their albums flow brilliantly, including dance and southern rock into their own bluesy-psychedelic signature sound. They showcased their own southern soul, playing the hauntingly powerful “Detroit” and the dance vibes of 70s NYC with the disco-driven “Back And Forth” towards the end of their set.
Article: Tom Shackleford
Photos: Merissa Blitz