Saturday, May 3, 2014

Frances Cone Celebrates EP Release at Rough Trade NYC

After months of delays, Rough Trade NYC has opened the doors to its music venue.  I stopped by to check it out during Frances Cone's self-titled EP release concert.  (Hopefully my signed copy from PledgeMusic arrives soon in the mail.)  The room continues the shipping container theme established in the record store, with the stage at the N. 8th wall and a bar along the left side.  Unfortunately, when it gets crowded, the narrow area between the bar and the soundboard creates a bottleneck situation.  Although it appeared to be off-limits during the show, there is also a balcony on three sides, creating a space reminiscent of the 8x10 in Baltimore.

Lou Reed playing over the PA was an easy transition into the Majorleans, who kicked things off with "Go Down All the Time."  The house sound was definitely bass-heavy, almost drowning out Chris Buckle's and Nicky Francis' guitars.  
Sean McCann, who was subbing for Christian Bongers, handled the bass parts nicely, so thankfully we didn't have to only hear wrong notes.  The mix improved by "Imaginary Plane," which sizzled more than its studio version.  Their stage presence was a tad subdued, but they loosened up towards the end, pumping their firsts and shouting out the "hey"s and "ahh"s of "Under Ma Wheels."  Download three free tunes from their upcoming Black Belt below.

I realized five minutes before Doe Paoro took the stage that I could've been in the store looking at records during set break.  I made a mental note to do that before Frances Cone, though I quickly attained I probably should've shopped straight through Doe's set.  Doe Paoro is music for hipsters, by hipsters.  She's a less-danceable Lady Gaga that makes R&B-influenced pop, but hey, there's a cello onstage, so it must be cool, right?  It wasn't horrible; I just didn't get the hype, unlike the girls with bad haircuts bouncing in the first four rows.

Frances Cone couldn't hide the grin on her face during "Better Man," so she shook her head from side to side on each "the best couldn't be this way."  She took to acting out her lyrics again in "Come Back," though this time it wasn't intentional.  "Your arms are shaking" could've been applied to Cone, her right arm flailing about as if she were a marionette controlled by a giant in the rafters.  This wasn't the chilled-out version from their debut; it had a spring in its step, no doubt from the evident elation of the band members.  This pure joy pervaded the set, including "June," which showcased the sublime harmonies of the band's three core members, Cone, Jeff Malinowski, and Andrew Doherty.  Sadly, someone behind me screamed right in the middle of the final "I forgotttt."  "Alex is gonna go now because it's his birthday," announced Cone, bidding adieu to drummer Alex Baron.  The trio took on "Rene & Georgette Magritte with Their Dog After the War" as Baron watched from above.  The crowd got pretty chatty during the gentle Paul Simon song, which worked better as an encore during their soft-release party in March.  They recaptured the room's attention with the final number, a cover of the Walkmen's "We Can't Beat Beat" with Doe Paoro on lead vocals.

THE MAJORLEANS - 05.02.14 - ROUGH TRADE NYC (33 minutes)

Go Down All the Time / Mr. Magic / Coal Mine/Cold Mind / Imaginary Plane / Never Had Enough / Real Bad / See the Seams / Under Ma Wheels

DOE PAORO - 05.02.14 - ROUGH TRADE NYC (35 minutes)

Intro > New Lows / Nobody / Born Whole / Can't Leave You / Walking Backwards / I'll Go Blind / Body Games / Hypotheticals / Nostalgia

FRANCES CONE - 05.02.14 - ROUGH TRADE NYC (42 minutes)

Better Man / Come Back / Wiser / June > Soon / Rene & Georgette Magritte with Their Dog After the War / Rattles Your Heart / These Days / 85 / We Can't Be Beat (feat. Doe Paoro)

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