It was an absolutely bone-chilling March night. So cold that the doorman for Mercury Lounge was standing inside. And he never stands inside. "It's a different season onstage," announced Frances Cone, ready for summer in a short-sleeved blouse and Daisy Dukes. Bathed in pink light, the Brooklyn band kicked things off with "Better Man," now sporting a fresh intro that didn't immediately bring to mind "Come on Eileen." As they made their way through "Come Back" and new tune "Wiser," the band displayed a confidence that wasn't there when I'd first seen them perform. (Granted, they had previously been booked between two neo-soul singers, and now they were headlining.) Cone admitted her trepidation before the debut of "June," but it turned out to be the best of the set. Based around a droning loop, the song built gradually into a soaring, shimmering slice of indie pop. They literally hopped into "Soon," bringing a taste of country into the mix. Part of the appeal of Cone is her unique voice, which sounds like the battle between a dulcet ingénue and a raspy femme fatale. You're never quite sure who's gonna come out on top, and that makes it interesting, especially when she tackles a cover like the Black Keys' "These Days." The brief, eight-song set came to its close with "Rattles Your Heart." After a quick "band meeting" at the side of the stage, they returned for an encore of Paul Simon's "Rene & Georgette Magritte with Their Dog After the War." And we all felt a little warmer inside as we stepped out into the freezing air.
Better Man / Come Back / Wiser / June > Soon / These Days / 85 / Rattles Your Heart
FRANCES CONE - 03.26.14 - MERCURY LOUNGE (38 minutes, 30 seconds)
Rene & Georgette Magritte with Their Dog After the War
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