Last Friday, Irving Plaza turned into a local artists showcase, as three up and coming local bands took to the stage to pull right at the hearts of a jam-packed crowd.
First up was Brooklyn based singer-songwriter IRO. He brought a stripped-down acoustic set that was all about turning stories into songs. At first glance, IRO looks like he might’ve just stepped right out of a GQ model shoot, but his music carries a sad beauty with it. It was just IRO and his guitar, but it never felt out of place in the larger confines of Irving Plaza.
Then it was a welcome home moment for New York’s own, Corbu. Fresh of a west coast tour in support of Bloc Party and a spot on the bill at the prestigious Austin City Limits music festival, they came back home to sweep the crowd into a dream like trance. Corbu maybe best described as bringing colors alive via sound waves. Guitarist/vocalist Jonathan Graves, keyboardist Amanda Scott, and drummer Todd Hoellerman were all wearing light up chest squares that instantly evoked images of Iron Man making music. And I bet Tony Stark would be proud of their sonic inventions.
Interestingly enough, Corbu has a richer and fuller sound now that they’ve shrunk the size of the band. This allows Grave’s subtle vocals to mesh more harmoniously with Scott’s spacey keys. Their set focused on tracks from their new release, Crayon Soul, and managed to make most of the crowd at Irving Plaza feel like they were floating through starry nebulas in galaxies far away.
Headlining the night was another New York based band, City of the Sun. When not playing some of New York’s finest venues you’re likely to see this post-rock acoustic trio – made up of guitarists John Pita, Avi Snow, and percussionist Zach Para – drawing crowds on street corners. This is a wild up-tempo sound that combines worldly flamenco riffs with an indie sensibility.
Snow and Pita provide the jazzy guitars while Para, covered in percussion sphere bells, slaps down on skins and box drums. There’s no need for vocals here because it’s all about letting the audience fill that space with their own emotions. Often ones that scream, “Get up and dance!” And dance the crowd did. Especially during the end when the band brought their friends and fans to fill the stage for a rollicking crescendo.
City of the Sun manages an impressive feat for a sound that’s feature’s solo riffs and roaring guitars. Their sound never gets self congratulatory in the way that you might expect from an 80’s hair metal guitar solo because while Snow and Pita take turns being featured on guitar they are never competing with each other, or with Para for that matter, for your attention. It’s a wall of plucked and percussed sound moving in one sweet union.
Article: Omar Kasrawi