A Band Plays Its First Show

July 12th, 2010

The Statesmen – Brooklyn Bowl – July 9, 2010

Jonah Smith

Jonah Smith

It’s a special treat to see a band play gig No. 1. Maybe it will be the only show or maybe it will be the first of hundreds. Everything is just potential energy at that point. Well, maybe not quite everything. On Friday night, a new band called the Statesmen played their first live show, opening for Assembly of Dust at Brooklyn Bowl, and there was all sorts of energy abound in their tight 40-minute set. While the Statesmen are a new group, their members have been seen in clubs around town for quite a while now. Jonah Smith is the frontman on lead vocals and Fender Rhodes and Nord synth, with frequent cohort Ben Rubin on bass, plus Scott Metzger, on guitar, and Josh Dion, on drums and vocals, to round out the quartet.

Remarkably, the set consisted entirely of original material. Nary a clunker in the bunch, each song had a refreshing twangy groove with enough soul and swing to go around. Smith seems to be the kind of guy who wakes up in the morning with great songs waiting for him under his pillow, and this crop of tunes is no different. The energy was purely positive, each member of the foursome wearing his joy on his face. Metzger, NYC’s great guitar chameleon, was on target with each note, whether it was a quick, fiery solo or a funky rhythm to match Dion’s wild energy and Rubin’s foundation. The chemistry, with Dion’s and Smith’s vocals meshing in 1+1=3 fashion, and Metzger and Rubin making eyes at each other as they hit their marks, was impressive for a fresh-out-of-the-gates showing. These guys know how to do things—first write the songs, then get the chemistry and energy right, then make sure you and your audience are having plenty of fun, and then get the Web site. —A. Stein