Last night made for an interesting contrast in concert experiences, as the two shows I attended could not have been any more opposite. My two stops for the night were El Perro Del Mar at Joe's Pub followed by Queens Of The Stone Age at NYC's brand new venue The Box. First up was an early show featuring the latest buzz act from Sweden.
El Perro Del Mar is essentially the musical project of artist Sarah Assbring. Her self-titled album was recently released in North America by Seattle's The Control Group, which has been critically acclaimed by a wide variety of blogs, magazines, etc. Her name has been popping up more and more frequently, and after hearing repeated songs of hers on KEXP, I needed to see what all the fuss was about in person.
Joe's Pub was the perfect place to sample her melancholy songs of heartbreak, giving music fans an intimate evening to experience El Perro Del Mar's NYC debut. She took the stage with three additional musicians, an electric guitarist, bassist and keyboardist shortly after 7pm. The cold rain last night provided just the right ambiance for her Kate Bush-like vocals, perfect for sipping a glass of wine while feeling a bit down in the dumps.
She included songs such as "Dog" and "This Loneliness," which remained primarily acoustic, with her backing band adding more or less just a backdrop of sonic texture to support her delicate melodies. Her set did include a few of her more upbeat, poppier tunes, including "God Knows." Her music turns more towards '50s doo wop, looking back to the sound of girl-group harmonies. You'd swear that somehow you stumbled into a time machine or had just flipped on an oldies station. The Kate Bush references come back with a vengence on "Party," which is just fine with me. Take out Kate's theatrics, make her Swedish, and you'd have this song.
She closed her set with the lengthy "Hello Goodbye," a fitting conclusion for part one of my night of music. She captivated the audience at Joe's Pub, as fans clung to every delicately voiced word that she sang. Now it was time to fight the rain and get down to the Zune launch party to get my rock & roll on with Queens Of The Stone Age.