Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Sea of Bees and Matt Bauer Played Rock Shop - Pictures, Review

Last week we stopped in at the recently-opened Rock Shop, and caught a show from two artists both firmly rooted in the singer-songwriter tradition. Sea Of Bees, the brainchild of Julie Ann Bee, was operating in solo mode, while Brooklyn local Matt Bauer made an appearance with his full band and more. The show was a poignant glimpse into the artists' worlds, and both delivered sets that underscored their recorded work to a T.

Sea of Bees started off the night, and as mentioned, was firmly in solo mode. Julie Ann Bee played a set that definitely emphasized her distinctive vocals and, with solo arrangements, took on a simpler quality that exposed both the lyrics and the melody as the two pronged heart of her unique songwriting.

Interestingly, Bee's stoic songwriting was underscored by her playful demeanor and banter onstage. Unafraid to discuss neither the songs nor their content, Bee offered up a stage presence that was at once playful, honest, and completely endearing.

Bee was followed by Matt Bauer, who took to the stage with a formidable lineup of guitar, upright bass, clarinet, and Bauer's own banjo. The combination was undeniably unusual, and curiously made for a very natural and well hewn sound that perfectly supported Bauer's bassy vocal timbre.

Part of what held our attention with the band was their undeniable chemistry. We later learned that the guitarist and bassist are brothers, which perhaps explains part of it. But even more than simple sibling bonds, the entire band managed to have a synchronized approach to their playing that held the set together brilliantly.

Towards the end of the set Jolie Holland joined Bauer on stage, and the two sang a newly composed duet. After hearing Bauer and his band for the beginning of the set, Holland offered up a nice variation. Moreover, it was clear that she and Bauer have worked together extensively, and their vocal interplay was clearly well practiced.

At the end of the night, we were happy to have caught two amazing sets from two amazing songwriters. Yes, there are a million folks out there trying to get their tunes out in the world, and sometimes it can be tough to wade through. But in our opinion, these are two that are more than worth your time.