Matt DuFour starting chatting about the band Kunek last week. I got the whole "dude, you've got to check this band out" speech from him on Thursday, convincing me to roll out to Brooklyn to catch them at the somewhat new venue Union Hall. The space is pretty sweet, complete with a library area, comfy seats and even two bocce courts. Bocce courts!! Only in Brooklyn!
I made it to Union Hall with just minutes to spare, thanks to an amazingly slow running R train last night. Watching bands here is almost like having a concert in your grandparents' basement. It is pretty small, with antique fixtures and pictures on the walls. The warm, cozy atmosphere was just the right environment to experience Kunek for the first time.
This Stillwater, Oklahoma band performs beautiful, complex songs that require some serious talent to pull off live. Kunek definitely wears their influences on their sleeves, including Radiohead (OK Computer era), Sigur Ros, early Elbow and a touch of Pink Floyd. The six-piece ensemble easily cruised through material off their LP, Flight Of The Flynns.
It has been a while since I have attended a show that inspired the crowd to sit on the floor and chill out, but that seemed to be the best way to enjoy their atmospheric masterpieces. Kunek's set contained a good mix of instrumentals as well as vocal driven tracks. One of my favorites of the evening was "The Swell," reminding me a tiny bit of a longtime favorite (and now defunct) Austin band Seven Percent Solution. It slowly builds around swirling keyboard lines, layers of ebowed guitar and a fantastic melody provided by the cello.
Frontman Jesse Tabish's great keyboard skills and somewhat comforting vocals shined through on "All Together" and "A Sign Of Life." Their performance relies on the talent of every single band member, including Jenny Hsu (cello, keys), Eric Kiner (guitar, harmonica, etc), Colby Owens (drums) and Jon Mooney (keys, guitars, accordion). With their vast instrumentation, Kunek is like a tiny orchestra, dishing out captivating songs that are both soothing and powerful.
If you couldn't tell by now, I really enjoyed their performance last night. Even on such a cramped stage, where Tabish and Mooney were literally back-to-back, their well-crafted songs floated along with ease. After a stressful day at the office, Kunek was just what the doctor ordered.