Monday, December 20, 2010

Gig review: Ava Luna at Storing

My friend Grant said we had to go, he was putting on the show. We were happy to support our friend but it was the night after his birthday so we were holding a hung over grudge as we all caught the train from Amsterdam to Haarlem. But Grant found a great venue in Storing, that provided some good pub grub before the show. Another plus, the venue with its roots in the squat movement make it a rule not to charge for gigs.Photobucket
Unfortunately, it wasn't just my liver that was disgruntled. Not only did the band's name conjure Paramore-ish connotations but I had been initially put off by the Brooklyn band, Ava Luna, by the shitty car stereo on which Liz and I sampled their demo in preparation for the gig while we drove around Europe. There weren't many ticks in the boxes, only Xs.
On arrival to Grant and Amanda’s house after our euro-sojourn their home stereo unit and a more polished EP redeemed the band’s sound, where soul meets post punk and you can hear elements of fellow New Yorkers TV on The Radio in their early days.Photobucket
Bringing the crunching post punk edge to the music are keyboards, bass and drums with equal amounts of thickness and negative space as lead singer, Carlos Hernandez croons in a falsetto recalling TVOTR's singer Tunde while a trio of female backing singers swoon with delicate harmony that when combined, compliment each other brilliantly.
In fact the term 'backing' is doing the girls an injustice. On the small Storing stage with little room for the seven members to move, the gals, Anna, Felicia and Becca are the main attraction, keeping a sweet and swaying chorus line bringing a uniqueness to an indie stage. Carlos wails about in a suit and maintains between-song banter as a leader should while bassist Ethan, drummer Julian and synth player Nathan keep the engine turning over like a dirty metronome.
Along with my last bowl of bitterballen, I had to eat my words - they were very entertaining with a fresh sound.

It was the band’s first trip to Europe and first show in the Netherlands. They seemed chuffed to be here and received a decent crowd for a Sunday night show in a city that wasn’t Amsterdam. Grant, ever the one to please had also offered his house as accommodation. Supposedly they were all stoked but as Liz and I were sleeping on their floor just a few days prior after returning from our roadtrip, I can’t imagine how all eight (tour manager included) fitted on the living room floor. I believe Grant took them to sample some Dutch delicacies so maybe that wiped them out. Ah to be a young band on the road.

For those in the Holiday spirit and love a good indie Christmas song, take a listen and if you like it, buy it, all proceeds go to the NYC Food Bank.

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