Long Island native and Don Giovanni Records recording artist Laura Stevenson brought her show back to Asbury Lanes on Friday night. The bill also included two of my favorite local acts in Dentist and Paper Streets and introduced me to Philly trio Cayetana.
Surf-pop indie rockers Dentist got things started early for a Friday night. The set included already-released material like “No Matter” and the destined-to-be-a-hit-if-there-is-any-justice-in-the-world “Bird in a Cage” along with several new tracks. Lead singer Emily Whitt also hinted that a full-length album from the band is on the horizon.
The guys from Paper Streets were up next. The quartet turned in their usual, strong set featuring songs from both their self-titled and A Reoccurring Dream EPs, some new tracks, and an homage to one of their influences with a faithful cover of “Dramamine” by Modest Mouse. They also announced that they’d be playing Asbury again in the coming weeks at the 100,000 Poets for Change Benefit on 9/28 and a Zombie Walk Eve show at the Berkeley on 10/4.
Following a quick break, Philadelphia alt-rock trio Cayetana took the stage. I hadn’t heard them before; but, following their set, I’m happy to have been introduced to them. They’ve got a 1990s-influenced sound that really came through on the excellent ode to their hometown “South Philly.” As it turned out, it was also singer / guitarist Augusta Koch’s birthday; and she received a cupcake with a candle in it along with a little something from the bar to wash it down. Interestingly, the relatively untouched cupcake and empty shot glass remained on stage, among the effects pedals, through Laura Stevenson’s set.
Laura Stevenson and her band, The Cans, took the stage at around 10. She covered most of the material on 2013’s excellent Wheel, blowing me away with her performance of “Telluride” and dedicating “Sink, Swim” to an enthusiastic fan up front. Throughout the set, Stevenson made sure we were always aware of what awaited us:
“OK. Now we’re gonna bring things down. But then will bring them back up. Then we’ll bring them down again.”
“OK. Now, The Cans are gonna go off to Canland. I’m gonna play two songs. Then they’ll come back for three songs.”
“This one’s super-sad.”
Stevenson does have some super-sad songs in her catalog, but her personality on stage Friday night was anything but that of the tortured singer/songwriter. Instead, she smiled, laughed, joked, and interacted with fans throughout the set.
When The Cans did go off to Canland, Stevenson did acoustic renditions of Sit Resist’s “Barnacles” and Wheel‘s “The Move.” She closed out the set with the super-sad “L-DOPA;” but looking around, I’m pretty sure all I saw were smiles.
Here are some photos I got of the evening.