I fulfilled a recent goal of mine and got to see Wildlife live at Pianos on Thursday. They were, of course, fantastic by all accounts. That being said, the surprises of the night included a set in the upstairs bar by the Craig Greenberg Band, and an opener downstairs called The R’s, who happen to be from Italy. Here are my thoughts.
Craig Greenberg is a New York based singer songwriter who writes predominantly piano based rock. While not completely reminiscent of Ben Folds and Billy Joel, there are certainly strong similarities present in his sound. I’m happy to add another and say his band is also close in context to contemporaries Jukebox the Ghost. I don’t have a song to share, but check out the myspace here for some aural pleasure.
After CGB’s entertaining set, we went downstairs to see the R’s play. I’d never heard of the band before, and I now believe that the only reason for this is that they’re from Italy. If they were playing the same set consistently and lived in New York, they would be all over your radar. Their songs are in both Italian and English, but both are delivered with a pretty normal American accent. Sound-wise, they are an amalgamation of the spritely indie scene that Vampire Weekend has led and developed over the last few years. They kinda gave me the same vibe that Peter Bjorn and John’s new album does, and that’s a great thing.
The most curious aspect of the band is that they’re signed to Nat Geo Records, which seems to be run by National Geographic. Yes, that National Geographic. Apparently the company started a label two years ago to spread the sounds of world music to the US and abroad. I think it’s hysterically ironic that they got a band that sounds like they’re from Brooklyn. Either way, the R’s are talented and if given the chance could easily make a splash in the US. The ball’s in our court on it though, so who knows?
FInally, after much waiting and a few beers, Wildlife took the stage for the last stop of their month long US tour. They then proceeded to completely earn their place on my Top Twenty list from last year. The band is stunningly good live, and their huge sound carried over easily in the small sound room that makes Pianos so much fun. A neat thing to see was the band playing around with their arrangements and allowing for a bit of jamming within the songs. For a record as tight as their debut, they sure know how to let loose live, and it really allows their skill as musicians shine through. Lead singer Dean Povinsky was able to hit every note spot on, truly showcasing his incredible range with a voice that makes me often think of the Walkmen’s Hamilton Leithauser and even Born Ruffians. The band should be back in the fall,but you might only be able to see them in a barn. Yeah, go ahead and try to figure that out…
I was able to speak with all of the bands at different points in the night, so hopefully they’ll treat us to some interviews in the coming weeks. Next stop on my crazy Thursday is Bowery Ballroom for Givers. That review is tomorrow!