Tag Archives: David Christian


A Hospitality Homecoming at Music Hall of Williamsburg

March 3rd, 2014

Hospitality – Music Hall of Williamsburg – March 1, 2014

Hospitality, the Brooklyn-based trio of Amber Papini (guitar, vocals), Brian Betancourt (bass) and Nathan Michel (drums), have returned to the limelight with their sophomore effort, Trouble. After garnering healthy reviews for their self-titled debut, the band’s follow-up introduces an edgier sound that evolves from quieter bedroom recordings to rocking rhythms peppered with atmospheric synths. Described by their label, Merge Records: “If you listen closely, you can hear a band pushing against their own boundaries and limitations until they find the very air around them subtly but perceptibly changed.”

For Hospitality’s homecoming show at Music Hall of Williamsburg on Saturday, Papini and gang played largely from Trouble but didn’t forget the gems from their back catalog. With the addition of a new drummer, David Christian, Michel stretched his prowess beyond drums, shuffling among guitar, keys and fingerboard synths. His mastery of the guitar was highlighted nicely in a solo section on “Nightingale.” And fans cheered for a pair of oldies but goodies, “Friends of Friends” and “The Birthday,” while the heavy-on-the-dance-beats “Rockets and Jets” had the crowd bopping up and down.

To settle down things, the lullabylike “Sullivan” gently oohed and ahhed the room to sweet contentment before the bubbly “8th Avenue” brightened the mood. That second song particularly resembled the sound of label-mates Camera Obscura, despite Papini’s voice being marred by a cold she’d been fighting. Not to let that interfere with the show, she soothed her vocal cords with a mug of a mysterious elixir. The latter half of the show was filled with plenty more from the new album, including “Going Out,” “Inauguration,” “Last Words” and the first single, “I Miss Your Bones.” Not to leave fans unsatisfied, the quartet returned to encore with “Betty Wang.” —Sharlene Chiu


Hospitality Leaves Them Smiling

January 11th, 2013

Hospitality – The Bowery Ballroom – January 10, 2013

Seeing some things onstage just make me smile, like a light blue Fender guitar or a Paul McCartney–style Hofner bass. Hospitality sported both of those things and more last night at their Bowery Ballroom gig that was originally scheduled for the week after Hurricane Sandy, but mostly it was the music that had me and the better-late-than-never audience smiling from ear to ear. Drawing largely from their self-titled full-length debut , the quartet was immediately at ease in their own music. Lead singer Amber Papini (she of blue guitar fame) has a distinctive voice that characterizes the sound—a sort of female David Byrne that’s part sweet, part quirky.

The album material was strong. “Eighth Avenue,” “Friends of Friends” and “Betty Wang” were clear highlights of the early set. Listening to the album, you get the sense that Hospitality is a sound: a happy, breezy, intelligent indie pop. But watching it unfold in real time onstage, it was clear that Hospitality is a band—Papini on guitar and vocals, Nathan Michel on drums, Brian Betancourt on bass and David Christian on lead guitar—that is sneaky talented and operating perfectly within their comfort zone. Listening to them interact with one another through tempo shifts, thematic curvatures and well-constructed peak-to-valley compositions was listening to a high-end jazz combo that happens to play highly listenable, groovy pop music.

Each member displayed impeccable chops and interacted fully with the others to bring out a lush, bouncy sound on every song. The group’s strengths became clear in the new material, which had a distinctly heavier and more rock and roll edge to it, a clear break from the stuff off the album. One was a perfect Jagger-less Rolling Stones knockoff. But whether playing old or new songs, they were fully in their range, like a bird hopping out of a nest fully confident it can fly safely to its next landing spot. Hospitality made it look easy, which was plenty to smile about. —A. Stein

(Watch Hospitality perform “The Birthday” exclusively for The Bowery Presents Live channel on YouTube and discuss why music is necessary.)