Tag Archives: Tamara Jafar


Cultfever and the Hot Sardines Give the Merc Something Different

September 17th, 2013

Cultfever/the Hot Sardines – Mercury Lounge – September 16, 2013



Mercury Lounge is famous for hosting young, emerging acts that would go on to stardom: the Strokes, Yeah Yeah Yeahs and the White Stripes all have a connection to the venerable venue dating back to their humble beginnings. Playing Mercury Lounge is a right of passage in the New York City indie scene. Bands like Cultfever have used this tried-and-true method of taking a step toward those legendary bands. The Brooklyn-based pop outfit has played Mercury Lounge several times to packed houses and adoring crowds. That’s because they’re an indie group on the rise. The Hot Sardines had never played Mercury Lounge before last night, perhaps because they’re a hot jazz band.

The Hot Sardines played first, and we were instantly lifted into a scene from Boardwalk Empire. Singer Elizabeth Bougerol’s airy vocals led each song, and when band members traded solos, Bougerol danced and coaxed more trumpet, more clarinet and even more tap dancing. Jaded head nodding from concertgoers turned into wild swing-dance leg kicks. And for the band’s grand finale, they summoned Joe Durniak and Tamara Jafar of Cultfever for a spirited New Orleans second line that snaked off the stage and through the crowd—not something you see every night on the Lower East Side.

Cultfever might be a more traditional Mercury Lounge band (i.e. no tap dancer), but a lesser group would have fallen flat paired with the Hot Sardines’ endearing quirkiness. Durniak and Jafar have created a wholly unique sound, blending elements of punk and grunge into their catchy synth pop. They burned through their set, as Jafar subdued the room with her sultry voice and Durniak powered the band with bluesy crunch. For “Collector,” Cultfever brought back the Sardines—solely to add more voices to the screaming chorus of band and crowd members shouting “Earthquakes!” at a key moment in the song. It was the perfect cap to an earth-shattering night. —Alex Kapelman


A Night of Films and Live Music at Music Hall of Williamsburg

July 15th, 2013

The FilmShop Presents: Kill Your Darlings – Music Hall of Williamsburg – July 13, 2013


Music Hall of Williamsburg hosted an action-packed night of film screenings and live music on Saturday night. First, H.P. Public Library warmed up the crowd, followed by a screening of several short films presented by the FilmShop. Then, Cultfever, Wild YaksSultans of Swat and L’Empire De Sen rounded out the night with energetic live sets and dance-y DJing. Each was impressive, and the diversity of acts made for a truly satisfying summer night.

Cultfever gave a sparkling performance that was filled with favorites from their self-titled album, released last November. Tamara Jafar (vocals) and Joe Durniak (guitar) broke down the wall between themselves and the audience early on by doling out heavy doses of eye contact and singing to friends and fans in the front row. They got everyone excited to hear them live by opening with “Boys, Girls,” followed by “Rouge,” “Farm,” “Strangenecks,” “Spill,” “Duress” and “Chicken.” The crowd gleefully sang along to “Animals,” which just received a quirky cartoon makeover for its recently released music video.

I even got my own serenade during my favorite song, “Knewyouwell,” and blushed accordingly! Cultfever finished their set with their first single, “Collector,” and left us all wanting more. Their music is fascinatingly playful, and stands up very well in a live setting due to its diversity and the band’s shining charisma. They are not to be missed live, and I’m sure we can expect lots more rock-solid tunes from these indie darlings in the near future. —Schuyler Rooth


Xylos Headline a Stellar Lineup at Mercury Lounge

December 10th, 2012

Xylos – Mercury Lounge – December 7, 2012

At Mercury Lounge on Friday night, all four bands that played the late show easily possessed the qualifications to headline. First up was I Am Lightyear, the electro-pop project from gifted songwriter and performer Lauren Zettler. Each piece of the musical puzzle fit together perfectly for Lightyear, with not one note misplaced, one instrument too powerful in the mix or one flourish too overpowering. Their light-as-a-feather approach kicked off the night perfectly as a sonic palette cleanser. Next came Modern Rivals, the bubbly five-piece whose harmonious, pop-infused jams heavily impress on their debut EP, Sea Legs. Somehow, the group found a way to recreate the enveloping lushness on that record. Lead singer and guitarist Erick Lee voice shone especially brightly for the group.

Cultfever followed immediately afterward and played a tight set with choice selections from their outstanding self-titled debut full-length and a killer new song, “Animals,” off their forthcoming EP of the same name. Singer and keyboardist Tamara Jafar proved completely captivating, guitarist Joe Durniak shredded throughout the set and provided some tasty blues licks, and drummer Shiori Takenoshita held down the groove with intensely focused energy. Finally, to close the night, headliner Xylos ran off a set of their signature dance pop. The audience grooved to the up-tempo tunes while lead singer Monika Heidemann gave us a good reason to shake our booties. —Alex Kapelman