Pomplamoose – The Bowery Ballroom – September 24, 2014
There is an art to covers—a balancing act, if you will, between reinvention and cheesy imitation. The Californian couple of Jack Conte and Nataly Dawn, aka Pomplamoose, have tackled a slew of artists ranging from Beyoncé to Eden Ahbez and have garnered a large fan base from their YouTube videos. It’s difficult to pin down the duo to a genre, as the two float between pop, jazz, blues, punk and folk. Whether doing covers or their own original songs, the pair infuses jauntiness to every melody they tackle. In front of a sold-out crowd at The Bowery Ballroom last night, Conte and Dawn kicked off the night fittingly with the introductory “Hey, It’s Pomplamoose.” Dawn announced the night would be a dance party as she barreled into Lady Gaga’s “Telephone.” For the doo-wop sway of “Bust Your Knee Caps,” references to the Italian mafia rang through the lyrics but the bouncy cadence had the fans singing the chorus to the end of the ditty.
The evening turned toward covers from a “Lorde 2Pac Beck Mashup” to Eden Ahbez’s “Nature Boy,” after which the backing band exited to leave the couple front and center. While Dawn attended to some battery issues with her earpiece, Conte proceeded to entertain the crowd with stories from their tour. As they ad-libbed through the technical hiccup, their personalities shined through. Fueled by a crowdsourcing engine Patreon, Pomplamoose aren’t signed to a label, and they produce largely through funds from their patrons, a few in attendance last night. Some covers (Mark Owen’s “Makin’ Out” and Pat Ballard’s “Mister Sandman”) hit stronger than others (Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)” and the Beatles’ “Come Together”).
Dawn’s playful vocals shown through on “If You Think You Need Some Lovin’” and telegraphed a resemblance to Feist and Inara George of the Bird and the Bee. Conte playfully called for a James Brown “hit me” moment egging on the band to “Another Day.” He continued the frivolity on “Get That Body Back” by asking the audience to part ways to create a circle that he proceeded to occupy by “going crazy” in and recruiting fan upon fan to join him. To top it off, both Conte and Dawn stage dived and crowd surfed before ending the set with the timely cover of Earth, Wind & Fire’s “September.” Returning to the stage, Pomplamoose encored with “Centrifuge,” while an accordion was being located. That fine instrument would put the icing on the cake for the evening as Dawn lulled the crowd with Édith Piaf’s “La Vie en Rose.” —Sharlene Chiu