Widowspeak – Mercury Lounge – Janauary 22, 2013
It looks like a real winter has arrived in New York City. All the chatter between sets last night at Mercury Lounge was some variation of “Cold enough for ya!?”—and coats and hats were de rigueur even after the room was packed front to back. There are several strategies for dealing with the onset of winter and the bill last night featured a good soundtrack for each of them. You can just decide to bunker down inside and wait it out until spring. And if that’s your tack, Prince Rupert’s Drops would be a good choice. Getting better with every gig, their long, cliff-diving guitar jams were perfect for letting your mind wander completely unaware of how low the mercury had dipped outside.
Or perhaps you prefer to get out of town altogether. In that case, Murals, out of Louisville, Ky., might fit the bill, with their surf-y guitar and soft-spoken vocals, their set was a perfect complement to a lazy day at the beach. Of course, most in the sold-out crowd were just prepared to deal with it head on. And headliner Widowspeak played a set of ideal winter music combining the barren, soft, quiet-snowflakes-falling vocals of Molly Hamilton with a band that rumbles like a storm in February with a “wintry mix” of sound. Like a landscape covered with new snow, the Brooklyn band was all about fresh and new Tuesday night, celebrating the release of their album Almanac earlier in the day and featuring for the first time a fifth member who split time on both electric piano and guitar.
Many of the new songs were played for the first time, and while Hamilton seemed apologetic, they came off as fully formed ready-to-go rockers, the band dialed in nicely for each one. A lot of the material was too new to be known, even for the packed crowd of longtime fans, and so they laid back and took in the new stuff, which had a decisively heavier edge, a lot of the twang from the older stuff swallowed by a band with the confidence and ability to go full throttle. By the end, Widowspeak were operating at full fledged Nor’easter making sure that if winter was going to be around for a while, at least we had the music to help face it head on. —A. Stein