Broke-Ass Show Review: The Juliets Played Pianos Last Saturday (9/15)
The Juliets are all about quiet innovation. It seeps from the bows and strings of their mini-orchestra; it shows its face in lyrics that declare: “If it’s less what you do and it’s more what you know / I can’t wait on fashion because I’m ready to go.” Trailblazing through typical indie-rock convention, three of the five members are classically trained musicians (cellist, violinist, and drummer). It seems that their approach is one of technical know-how combined with a natural ability to forecast the currents of contemporary music. In other words, it’s obvious this band knows their shit.
Headlining Pianos on Saturday night (9/15) they made themselves right at home in the Lower East Side fixture. Opening their nine song set with little stage fanfare, they burst into the first song of the night, “Evolved Into,” which featured a pounding, up-tempo pace and set an easily followed precedent for the rest of the evening. The next song, “Hey Stars,” combined the grittiness of singer Jeremy Freer’s vocals with graceful moving parts of the violin and cello, lending to it an almost bohemian feel.
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When performed live, “Perfect Season,” (the title track off their new album) achieved an impressive display of versatility by employing a simple falsetto chorus grounded in repetition over changing instrumental elements. A resounding, heartbeat-like tempo from drummer Jaclyn Phillips pulsated throughout the song, driving home a surprising emotionality unbeaten by many better-known bands. If the band had established a personality by mid-set, they threw us all a curve ball with some stage banter about the song they wrote that was inspired by peacocks in Detroit (“Sweetheart”) and then brought out their rendition of Outkast’s “The Whole World,” which was not simply a cover, but an entirely re-orchestrated translation of the song.
Their last song of the night, “Fashion,” had cellist Anthony Marchese and violinist Sarah Myers playing their instruments in the pizzicato style (finger picking), while bassist Ashton Hopkins contributed with quiet gusto and a-more-than-the-typical 3-note bass line, all building suspense for the all-out, brazen chorus. “Fashion” was by far the most vocally uninhibited song of the night and left the NYC venue with notes ringing from the stage and lingering out onto Ludlow street, swarmed with Saturday night party-goers. If you missed the show at Pianos, be sure to follow them on Facebook, as the band spent the next day in NYC recording some new material.
Photo Credit: thejulietsband.com
by Patty Scull in collaboration with Leonard Zachery