Three was company as the Subways unleashed a frenzy of rawk goodness last night at Rothko for their first-ever gig in New York - which by the way was a mad cluster of folks upon entry. Shoveling through the crowd into a side spot four incongruent rows away from the stage was process in giving-and-taking as a line imposed forward. However, on a chilly night there’s nothing like pinning yourself into a smothered community of onlookers to keep the temperature at cozy.
Once the Subways took stage the synchronous vibe of knowing the kind of show to expect was apparent. Billy Lunn (guitar/vocals) was dressed in regular jeans and gray top, while his counterpart, Charlotte Cooper (bass/vocals) was draped in a glittery black ensemble that complemented her light skin and golden, chunky-layered locks. As the band warmed up with “With You” and “Young for Eternity”, the crowd received a blast of energetic punch from the group’s initial presence that undoubtedly confirmed the rest of the show.
Throughout the night, Lunn maintained a stance of poise, while Cooper thrashed forward with a bass beyond her figure, and head-banged with a punky grace that would set preceding bangers in a state of mockery. The steady back and forth of “Oh Yeah” provided an awakening to a turn of beat in addition to “City Pavement”. Lunn positioned himself on top of the drum and faced his fellow member before making a zany mid-air, rock-star leap back to the front (which evidently wasn’t just a pose for the pictures). Acrobatics did not stop there, however. Lunn climbed to the top of a gigantic side speaker, grabbed a pipe above and jumped back onto the stage. For a few separate moments, the lead stood on the edge of the stage perhaps looking to crowd surf? Best that he didn’t. Wouldn’t have wanted him to break that sweet neck, and not sure if the crowd would have been in a state to support a propelled body. But Lunn did manage to toss one of his guitar picks – a little short, I’d say.
Notably, the band also covered “Holiday” and “Mary” (an affectionate dedication to a stranger four doors down from his apartment) and ended with the feist of “Rock & Roll Queen”. The long-term friendship between all three members was apparent in the chemistry on-stage. Lunn and Cooper complemented each other well, with one steadily focused and the other thrashing along. By the end of the gig, almost three-fourths of the crowd dramatically exited Rothko’s main hall. Reception for the Subways was undeniable despite being sandwiched in the middle of a five-act line-up. A girl upfront said to her friend, “They were hot”. Yes, they were. By this point almost every tastemaker must know of the Subways. If you didn’t, well, you know now.