You Can’t Spell Megafaun Without F-U-N

September 26th, 2011

Megafaun – Mercury Lounge – September 24, 2011

When the weather is nice, a Saturday night on the Lower East Side can become a total zoo of car horns from backed-up intersections and sidewalks packed with people coming to and from wherever the most fun is being had. This past Saturday, with summer taking one of its last gasps before autumn fully settles in, the scene was particularly crazy. This made the sanctuary of music inside Mercury Lounge that much more special as Megafaun created an oasis of thoughtful songsmanship, soulful harmonies and plain old fun.

Celebrating the release of their self-titled album this week, the trio opened, as the LP does, with “Real Slow,” immediately demonstrating their appeal. On their own, Megafaun’s three members were each decent enough vocalists and musicians, but working in concert, the effect was multiplicative and magical. The set zigzagged through newer and older material sucking up the recycled-Americana influences of the Grateful Dead, the Band and Neil Young and exhaling them over a tight, bobbing audience. “Get Right” let loose a longish psych-jam that cycled on a grooving bass guitar. Even the between-song banter had the internal logic, clever lyricism and rhythm of a well-written song.

Opener Doug Paisley served as a buffer between the cacophony of the street scene and Megafaun’s midnight set. Like with all great singer-songwriters, his currency was in syllables, doling them out with miserly care through barely opened lips, wrapped in carefully picked acoustic guitar. Just steps from Houston, the peace of his set could have been anywhere else in the world but. —A. Stein