Freelance Whales’ Dreamy Pop Dazzled The Mod Club

Freelance Whales @ Mod Club, 17-01-13

Date of show: January 17, 2013
Written by: Chiara DiAngelo

From Queens, New York, Freelance Whales brought some warmth to a busy Mod Club on one of the first cold nights of the year. While the band has a synthy base and have earned comparisons to the likes of The Postal Service, they are often more folk-pop than electronic, especially with the provision of banjo by frontman Judah Dadone. Their dreamy playfulness held the venue in a trance, playing music with a melody meant to be swayed to, building up until it swells into something massive – not unlike a symphony.

The five-piece is comprised of many multi-instrumentalists, with band members often swapping instruments, and bringing in different sounds like the horn and xylophone. The only drawback of this was that it made it difficult to keep track of who was where on the stage as their positions were constantly shifting. They entertained with a good mix of old and new material. While their most recent album Diluvia was released last Fall, a substantial portion of their set was dedicated to 2009’s Weathervanes. And it was songs like “Generator ^ First Floor”, “Hannah” and personal favourite “Location” that generated the most enthusiasm from the crowd who were perhaps, like me, still more familiar with their debut effort.

I seem to have slept on Diluvia, but standout tracks included the xylophone-infused “Dig Into Waves” and the positively breathtaking set-closer “Locked Out.” The band returned to Weathervanes for their two-song encore, starting with “Broken Horse” and ending with “Starring.” The audience seemed more than a little disappointed and even perplexed as the show ended a few minutes before 10pm and called out for an additional encore, not yet ready to head out into the frostbitten air. If you haven’t had a chance to check out Freelance Whales’ new material yet, Diluvia is streaming for free on the band’s website.

Freelance Whales @ Mod Club, 17-01-13 Freelance Whales @ Mod Club, 17-01-13 Freelance Whales @ Mod Club, 17-01-13 Freelance Whales @ Mod Club, 17-01-13 Freelance Whales @ Mod Club, 17-01-13 Freelance Whales @ Mod Club, 17-01-13

Hundred Waters

Hundred Waters, a five-piece from Florida, opened the night. Taking the stage with a multitude of cords, synths, and electronics, they weren’t a band you would typically expect to emerge out of the Sunshine State. To add to the unexpected mystique of this band, turns out they are also signed to Skrillex’s label OWSLA.

Frontwoman Nicole Miglis tickled the keys and also pulled out the flute on a few occassions. Backup vocals were provided by Samantha Moss who also played the cymbal. Just the cymbal. Beyond that, they were primarily electronic. There were times when ⅘ of the band would be standing still, not playing a note, while a single member churned out sounds through the turning of dials and pushing of buttons. With this minimal interaction, their sense of complex and almost incomprehensible electro-experimentation didn’t necessarily translate that well live, at least not for this girl. My full attention was dedicated to just trying to wrap my head around it the entire time.

While Miglis’ full-bodied yet breathy voice had a magnificent haunting lilt, the instruments often overtook her voice, making her and the lyrics near indecipherable. It seemed at times like her voice was merely another instrumental layer rather than really standing out. Doing some online research after the show, I found that their lyrics are actually quite poetic and it’s a shame they got so lost in the shuffle. You can check their material out for yourself over on their website.

Hundred Waters @ Mod Club, 17-01-13 Hundred Waters @ Mod Club, 17-01-13 Hundred Waters @ Mod Club, 17-01-13

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Categories: Live Music


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