Excitement was in the air on Saturday night as boys in tailored jackets and girls in summer dresses and leggings flocked to the Music Hall of Williamsburg in Brooklyn. The second of three sold out shows in one week, and their only non 21+ event, The Morning Benders, and new Brooklyn residents, were ready to take the stage in full force.
Opening the night was the Canadian band, The Luyas. This band the night could have done without. The singer’s voice was not always pleasant sounding, even though I’m certain she was trying to make it sound ‘pretty.’ Nothing amazing stood out about this group, and it was obvious. If they hadn’t played, The Morning Benders could have done a longer set, and that my friends, would have been radtacular. I wouldn’t go out of my way to see this band because, well, they made me sleepy on so many levels.
Next up was Holiday Shores, who were extremely impressive live. The band was missing a few members that night and took on a couple of the guys from Twin Sister for the set. You couldn’t even tell they weren’t part of the band because they were DEAD ON. Originating from Florida (Is it becoming the new Brooklyn, Surfer Blood?), the guys made it up to New York for a one night only set. Nice. The crowd was into it, mouthing the words and dancing around. Things were really getting started.
Around 11pm The Morning Benders finally took the stage. Opening with the spacey number “Stiches,” off of their new record Big Echo (+1 Music/Roughtrade), the audience was howling. “You don’t know me by name,” echoed from singer Chris Chu’s voice. It was at that point chills went down my spine and I knew we were all in for a treat tonight.
The crowd seemed intent on every word, every guitar hum, every cymbal crash that the band had to offer. What we were witnessing is one of the greatest acts to have come out in the past ten years. Their harmonies are reminiscent of early Beach Boys records and even more prominent live than on their records.
“We’re going to play you our new album tonight, Big Echo,” said Chu and fans were noticably ecstatic to be experience nearly every single song.
I’m not sure if I could say there was a ‘standout’ tune of the night, because nearly everything stood out. When it came time to play their second single “Promises,” everyone was singing along. When the band promised us they’d play songs we can dance to, they started it off with “Cold War (Nice Clean Fight)” one of the most incredible and fun songs to hear live.
Throughout the show, only one old song was played, which was a slower version of “Damnit Anna.” No one seemed to mind it though and it fit in perfectly. They also played a new track called “Go Grab a Stranger,” which was amazing beyond words.
It’s amazing to me to see this band that I saw play a Puma Instore two years ago when CMJ took place (and they weren’t part of the festival), completely grown. The store wasn’t even full, and John Norris from MTV was sitting on the floor watching the band. Flash forward to today where The Morning Benders are one of the hottest indie bands around and their newest release is produced by Chris Taylor of Grizzly Bear? Talk about coming along way.
Amongst some personal song highlights of the night were “All Day Day Light,” “Pleasure Sighs,” “Hand Me Downs,” and of course, “Excuses.” For this song, Chu came into the crowd and sung to a few audience members as he roamed around the front portion of the floor. He really knows how to work a crowd, and you can see he enjoys every moment of it. So does the fans. There was no encore, and Chu told the crowd that the band would be in the lobby after the show to greet and talk to fans.
This is what makes me love music. This is what makes me love The Morning Benders.
CHECK OUT MORE PHOTOS FROM THE SHOW HERE
Watch two videos from The Morning Benders show at the Music Hall of Williamsburg
“All Day Day Light”
“Hand Me Downs”