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Braids Take Late-Night Rough Trade NYC Crowd to the Cosmos

June 6th, 2016

Braids – Rough Trade NYC – June 3, 2016

Braids – Rough Trade NYC – June 3, 2016
After Governors Ball wound down at Randall’s Island, a generous turnout of night owls formed at Brooklyn’s Rough Trade NYC as Friday night turned into Saturday morning to be swept into the cosmos by the ambient dance rhythms of the Canadian trio Braids— everyone in the audience feeling like they were dreaming in the atmosphere of propulsive harmonics that’s become the band’s calling card. Even with the jackrabbit jungle beat that spurred their music, the effect was of gentle entrancement. Taylor Smith crafted a grand spaciousness from a small electronic sound box, giving singer Raphaelle Standell-Preston the surroundings for her voice to ascend.

Meanwhile the helicopter percussion of drummer Austin Tufts, who dived into every number like the anchor leg of a swim relay, lent the counterweight of structure and substance to the ethereality. Braids’ magnificent third album, Deep in the Iris—which won the Juno Award for Alternative Album of the Year—made up the core of their performance, with new songs off their just-released EP tucked in gently. Standell-Preston’s ivory-soft vocals flowed forth effortlessly, gracefully dancing around themselves in whimsical patterns. Wondrous tunes “Warm Like Summer” and “Taste” washed over the crowd like cresting waves, giving way to pockets of contemplative sprawl, landing in between songs.

The soft blankets of interlude invoked reflection, before taking off again into the next swirl of rhythmic bliss. Braids fostered an atmosphere of dreamlike levitation in the room, one that suited the late hour. It beckoned the memories of the opening scene of Peter Pan, with the children being told that all it takes to fly is a little imagination. Braids opened that realm of dreaming to the listener and sent a roomful of fans floating off to the stars on Friday night. —Charles Steinberg | @Challyolly

Photos courtesy of Charles Steinberg | charlesosteinberg.com