Any other rainy Sunday night would find us Netflix-ing but this week we decided to beat our Sunday scaries by heading to Brooklyn Steel (319 Frost St) to see a night of talented bands. Pure Bathing Culture and Land of Talk may have been the openers for American Football but the entire lineup provided stellar performances. Since Brooklyn Steel tends to be a pretty prompt venue, if you had arrived slightly late on Sunday, you would have regretted missing either of these opening bands.
From the first moment that Pure Bathing Culture hit the stage it was clear that their sound could be described as “West coast living,” which makes sense because the band currently resides in Portland, Oregon. There was a magical feel to this set, right in time for the new moon in Scorpio (if you are into that sort of thing). Pure Bathing Culture’s performance brought a soothing vibration of loving melodies that made me feel like I was spending a crisp winter night sitting in the park while discussing the evidence of aliens (just me?). Sarah Versprille (who, along with bandmate Daniel Hindman, played with Vetiver) is effortless in her strong yet ethereal vocals, capturing the essence that so many indie bands strive for. Pure Bathing Culture puts on a zen-like show that wakes you up.
Next up was Land of Talk. It may have been said before but the first thought that came to mind in describing guitarist/singer Elizabeth Powell is the imaginary musical love child of Courtney Barnett and Jenny Lewis. Since their sound brings back the powerful feelings of the innocent early 2000s in the spirit of Bright Eyes and Rilo Kiley, it comes as no surprise that Land of Talk is on the Saddle Creek label. Powell’s guitar playing was rather majestic and she led the band in jamming out onstage several times. This turned the set into a powerful collaborative performance.
And, of course, American Football closed out the night on a harmoniously high note. Up until a few years ago, we would have never thought it would be a possibility to see them perform so this set was a dreamy celebration.
American Football took long time listeners on a brooding journey through their songs and brought electric energy to stage for those who has only recently discovered their music. They played all their cult favorite songs including “Honestly?” and “I’ll See You When We’re Both Not So Emotional” with frontman Mike Kinsella joking that he’s not a great vocalist. While Kinsella is no opera singer or Whitney Houston, his voice is perfect for these emo-rock songs. American Football is the definition of a “you can’t miss them live” band.