Music Review: Communion NY

by Shelby L Thompson

Last night’s Communion Records gathering at the Lower East Side’s Rockwood Music Hall brought together a plethora of indie rock/folk bands of varying popularity, including Brooklyn’s own Savior Adore. Other fine acts included Tennis, On an On, Poor Remy, The Districts, Belle Mare, Salt Cathedral, Great States, Night Sweats, Tor Miller, Michael Daves, and Leif Vollebekk, whom we had the pleasure to meet outside the venue.

Each band had space to spread out in between three stages, and each played for just under an hour, though the at-capacity venue didn’t allow for much free reign to bounce around between stages, especially if you came for specific bands and weren’t sure which stage to get to. The sound wasn’t great either, but the sense of community, which is often missing in similar festival-like events was apparent, and everyone seemed excited to see both bands they know and love and new bands they will get to know and love.

The latter is what had me loving the Communion night. Discovering Philly’s foursome The Districts proved to be the highlight of my night. Adorable with their black-exed hands (too young to drink!), and infectious with their excitable, but totally relatable sound, what’s not to root for? 

In an interview with Interview Magazine, the band cited new band favorites as influences on their sound, “Musically, Tom Waits, The Beatles; someone compared us to Television recently, and I like Television a lot. My Morning Jacket, we like them a lot too.” They also mentioned an affinity for Neil Young, David Bowie, and a list of non-musical names such as Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg and even Harry Potter

You can hear this bold list in their sound, including their obvious roots in classic rock, with a dash of American heroes such as Dr. Dog, Built to Spill, and even the soulful feel of Alabama Shakes (with no keys). Despite their desire to get out of being known as a “young band”, they shouldn’t shake the youthful exuberance that makes their sound so catchy just yet. They are energetic and fun to watch, and clearly enjoy bouncing around the stage and jamming together live.

My favorite moment: when lead singer Rob Grote stopped playing guitar to tie the lace on his left black Vans at a perfectly-timed moment to let Connor Jacobus pluck a bass solo and smoothly returned to rocking and hopping around the small stage. Backed by Mark Larson on guitar and Braden Lawrence on drums, this little quartet has a bright future ahead of them.  If this sounds like your speed, they’ll be back in NYC on November 19, at the Mercury Lounge.

Until then, check out the video of “Funeral Beds” from their 2012 album Telephone.

Images courtesy of and Dalton Young.

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