Show Pics: Chairlift @ The Mohawk (4/17)

The show preview nailed it. It was Ladies Night at The Mohawk. Magnetic, charming, engaging and technical, playing solo or as the front person – the women on stage controlled the night.

Chairlift was in town for SxSW and played a heavy schedule. Would there be local fatigue? Would their set create a better, more unique experience for the fans? The set up bands, Bell and Nite Jewel, certainly gave good reason to get out and about early and leave some money at the door.

Carry through for more show notes and plenty of pics.

Bell is Olga Bell. She runs a solo set, mini Keytar, big synth and plenty of charm. She is enthusiastic, expressive and comes across as one of those people that you can’t help but like. A mutual friend confirmed that sentiment. Born in Moscow, growing up in Alaska and now embedded in Brooklyn, Olga pulls double duty as the touring keyboard player and backing vocalist with Chairlift.

Nite Jewel is Ramona Gonzalez. A note on her wiki compares Nite Jewel to Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam and that is probably fair. Jams. Dance. It is smart pop that is easy to like. Ramona is into it on stage; hair flips, poses, stare-downs. And her drummer is damn good. Energy built.

Chairlift is Caroline Polachek and Patrick Wimberly. Despite your best intentions to give equal time, Caroline is the band’s draw when playing live. But all the stage presence in the world means nothing if you can’t deliver. Smartly fashionable, attractive but accessible, it is her powerful vocal, rarely wavering, taking the lead on stage and controlling the crowd. My favorable impression after SxSW went upwards to full like (thumbs up). This being a complete set, the band could play the hits. The iPod song, admit you know every word of “Bruises” from Does You Inspire You, was the sing along track with a little “Melt With You” thrown in for kicks (surprised that it worked). Much of the earlier material is in stark contrast to Something’s “Sidewalk Safari” and “Wrong Opinion” which are more powerful, well-crafted songs. “Evident Utensil” made its appearance during the encore. “Amanaemonesia” finished things up with Caroline and Patrick’s split vocal, don’t call it a duet.

Perhaps it was the New Wave-esque dance moves or maybe the angry synth waveforms of the newer tracks, I couldn’t get Siouxsie and Banshees out of my head after the show was done, whatever song I would start with somehow mixing into that digital bell hook in “Wrong Opinion” or “Amanaemonesia”.

Plenty more pics at the photo site

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