Mellow Mood

December 10th, 2009

AA Bondy – The Bowery Ballroom – December 9, 2009

Prior to last night, I admittedly didn’t know much about AA Bondy other than that he was once the lead singer of the Southern grunge band Verbena, and that when they broke up, he went off on a solo career. His most recent album, When the Devil’s Loose, came out in September, and Bondy and his two accompanying musicians have been touring earnestly just about ever since. “This is how you go from Berlin to New York in 65 days, talking shit all the way,” said Bondy of the tour-ending show at The Bowery Ballroom.

Their first sounds were two minutes of a lush, ethereal instrumental opener. For the most part, Bondy and crew played intimate, well-written songs about dark topics—like on “Kill Myself When I Was Young” and “Vice Rag,” singing “Sweet, sweet cocaine/ Won’t you be all mine?” But by the third tune, a blast of harmonica, greeted with cheers, upped the room’s musical temperature. The Alabama-bred Bondy was chatty throughout. Between songs he said, “I do have to say the Crimson Tide are SEC champs, and Tim Tebow is crying at home.” Although he later admitted he didn’t care much about football except for the Tide’s “colors and Bear Bryant’s hat.”

Near the end of the set, the trio became just one as Bondy did several songs with just a guitar and harmonica. Often times, a quiet song at The Bowery is drowned out by loud conversations from the back bar. But this attentive crowd was remarkably still and silent, just taking it in. Bondy’s wingmen then returned and later Elvis Perkins in Dearland drummer Nick Kinsey, playing a marching bass drum with a cymbal attached, joined the mix. Bondy introduced “Oh the Vampyre” with: “Fuck Twilight. Having a werewolf and a vampire in the same movie is like mixing mayonnaise and Coke.” —R. Zizmor