CoolMom and I could have planned for this a little better. We’d dragged our feet on getting a Tuesday night babysitter; so CoolMom ended up staying home with the girls, while I headed out for the show. This was one she would have really enjoyed, too. Three great bands, an interested and laid back crowd, a little room to move around, time for conversation between sets, and a beautiful space.
As it turned out, I ended up traveling alone from Little Silver to Brooklyn to see a band called Little Silver. It was the second time in a week that I’d gone to Williamsburg for a show, this time to The Glasslands Gallery. Glasslands is a beautiful, little club with artwork on the walls, an elevated bar, and a cloud of giant, white roses above the stage. I’d gone to see Little Silver, the project of Brooklyn husband and wife duo Steve Curtis and my fellow Little Silverian (-ite?) Erika Simonian; but I got to see two other great bands as part of the bargain.
First up were another husband and wife duo, The Inner Banks. Caroline Shutz and David Gould brought along a string section and a cast of some of their other talented friends and delivered a set that ranged from, in Shutz’s words, “medieval prog” to atmospheric instrumentals to an excellent cover of “Rocket Man.”
Yellowbirds closed out the evening. Led by Sam Cohen on guitar and vocals, Yellowbirds filled Glasslands with the twang and reverb of their western-inspired sound. It’s a sound that also draws heavily on the early rock and roll of the 1950’s and 60’s. Yellowbirds highlight some of the more expansive aspects of that sound, and it had the effect of making Glasslands’s relatively small space somehow seem much larger.
Sandwiched in between those two acts, Little Silver came out in their full-band configuration that, in addition to Curtis and Simonian, features David Tarica (bass) and Ray Rizzo (drums). Chris Whitley’s “Dirt Floor,” from Little Silver’s Dress Up covers EP, got a more substantial, full-band arrangement; and the band introduced some new, much more rock-inspired songs.
On both the band’s debut EP, 2010’s The Stolen Souvenir, and Dress Up, the trademark is the intertwining of the duo’s vocals and guitar work. With the exception of Simonian’s performance for some of the verses on Dress Up’s “Pictures of You,” neither ever breaks out as lead vocalist. That same approach holds true for the new songs, but the focus has shifted. Instead of creating the intimacy found on the band’s recordings, the dual lead singer approach is a big part of achieving a larger sound. At one point during the show, Curtis confessed, “I feel a little self-conscious about having screamed at all of you for the last few bars.” Simonian turned to him and said, “You shouldn’t.” She was right.
The set included some great renditions of Little Silver’s quieter cuts like “Sleep ‘til Morning” and the title song from The Stolen Souvenir. One of the lyrics from a new one, though, was a shouted “Turn it up!” Last night made it obvious that Little Silver shouldn’t be at all self-conscious about following their own advice.