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Nice as Fuck Connect with Sold-Out Crowd at The Bowery Ballroom

August 2nd, 2016

Nice as Fuck – The Bowery Ballroom – August 1, 2016

Nice as Fuck - The Bowery Ballroom - August 1, 2016
The band is called NAF—Nice as Fuck—a name that feels buried in layers of Twitter-ready hipster irony, but, maybe, quite possibly they really are that nice. The crowd at the sold-out early show at The Bowery Ballroom last night was certainly fond of the trio, a “supergroup” consisting of Jenny Lewis (vocals and keyboards), Erika Forster (bass) and Tennessee Thomas (drums). With the mid-summer sunlight still peeking in through the back windows, you might have said the show was “early as fuck,” but no matter, when the three took their places, not onstage but in the middle of the floor, all wearing the NAF uniform of Nice as Fuck T-shirts, army-fatigue jackets and black berets, the normally staid Ballroom security somehow became hype men, helping getting the crowd riled, the room was ready as fuck to party.

The performance was a run through of their self-titled album, nothing more, nothing less. “Runaway” opened the set, Forster’s bass filling the room from the center like some chocolate-bar nougat, Lewis’s vocals echoing from above and behind—and from where I was standing, as good a voice of God as you could ask for. She circled around throughout, making eye contact and sometimes physical contact with the crowd, like an indie-rock Oprah connecting with the masses. The audience, majority female, responded in kind: bouncing and singing and dancing along with Lewis and company.

“Cookie Lips” was introduced with the announcement that Forster was six-months pregnant, which made me appreciate what effect that rubber-band bass playing might have. The sound remained steady and simple throughout, bass and drums getting funky as fuck with Lewis imparting wisdom like “Get high, get low, get weird,” approaching a self-help mantra. Still, in this complicated world, the simplicity and fun of NAF was welcome. The set’s highlight came toward the end with “Guns,” Lewis and the rest of the crowd singing, “I don’t want to be afraid, put your guns away,” peace signs aloft, a message that was clear as fuck, in as nice a way as possible, of course. —A. Stein | @Neddyo

Photos courtesy of Pip Cowley | pipcowleyshoots.com