Keep Shelly in Athens - Fitzgerald's, Houston 10/04/2012
I guess having a Tuesday night slot isn't such a good idea, even if it is a free show.
A show that I've been looking forward to for months now, Keep Shelly in Athens, a band from Greece of all places, and Jonquil, a UK-based quintet. Both bands have gained some much hype, so I was expecting to be impressed ... and I was.
Jonquil, the boys from Oxford. Even though I thought the pairing with Keep Shelly was a bit of an odd choice, it made for a fun show to say the least. In the spacious venue, Hugo Manuel's voice echoed through the empty spaces and transcended the microphone's limit. His voice possessed a silent scream that lent perfectly to Sam Scott's syncopated trumpet playing and Robin McDiarmid's slamming guitar. Flawless throughout their entire set, Jonquil provided a clear, diverse sound that would make Beirut fans jealous. The band played a majority of their songs from their latest effort, Point of Go with upbeat 'It's My Part' and 'Mexico' being unexpected surprises and 'Swells' and 'Real Cold' showing off the bands professionalism.
On to the next performance, the Greek duo emerged with background visuals and an electronic-heavy set. The group is mysterious all on their own with minimal descriptions on their Facebook page or their other related websites, so I'll just try to steer away from mentioning Sarah P., lead vocalist too much. It's hard to even describe this band in a couple of words. What initially began as a Thievery Corporation-esque sound equipped with heavy saxophone sounds, the set switched halfway through to a '90s grunge concert. With an unbelievably piercing voice and hypnotizing stage presence, Sarah P. had everyone in trance, even though she stood at barely 5 ft tall. The set had a melting pot mix of everything from hip-hop beats to an organic live sound provided by the band's drummer. In between songs and what seemed like an entire album being played, Sarah P. thanked the audience under a muffled voice or what probably was a language barrier. A couple of Our Own Dream tracks that stood out were 'Lazy Noon', 'Our Own Dream', and 'DIY.' Every song brought something new to the set and challenged this new genre of post-rock. 'Hauntin' Me' and 'Running Out Of You' were laid-back, beautiful and intricate songs that threw me off guard. To close the night with a Jesus & Mary Chain cover, 'Just Like Honey' made me love one of my favorite songs and bands even more. The rendition was solid and did more than justice for a critical fan like me. After these guys live, I think I'll have to check out more Greek bands now.
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