Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Concert Review: Small Black at DC9

Small Black (w/ Washed Out)
  DC9, Washington DC
March 11, 2010

Whatever prejudices you have about Long Island, Small Black will probably prove you wrong, at least in terms of musical talent.  Their lo-fi, indie pop music joins them to the likes of similar artists such as Neon Indian and Memory Cassette.  Small Black’s songs have a certain bedroom feel that I imagined would be difficult to replicate when not on a recorded track.  Live, the duo that makes up Small Black, Josh Kolenik and Ryan Heyner, is joined by Juan Pieczanski and Jeff Curtin on drums and guitar.  The guitar and drums combined with the synths gives more soul to the performance and makes listening to their songs less private and more of a shared experience between Small Black on-stage and the surrounding audience.

Small Black’s lo-fi tracks are full of longing and matured teenage angst.  Listening to their songs live was much more of an emotional experience for me versus having listened to their recorded EPs.  The rest of the audience also appeared to be touched by the high level of energy Small Black gave through their performance.  Midway through their set Small Black was joined by their opener, Washed Out, and together played a large selection of Washed Out tracks remixed by Small Black.  This combination was amazing although I would have liked to hear Small Black play more of their original songs. 

My only complaint about the show is the limited time Small Black had to perform.  Even their set with Washed Out seemed rushed and ended right at the climax of the overwhelming energy levels present throughout the venue.  I definitely hope to hear more from Small Black and see them perform again, preferably when their set can go late into the night.

-- Dominique Barron
Host, Amurikah = Apple Pie & Fried Chicken -- Tuesdays, 6-8PM on WGTB

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