CANT, Mirror Mirror, and Blood Orange at the Entry, 10/15/11

Categories: Last Night
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Photo By Erik Hess
CANT, Mirror Mirror, and Blood Orange
October 15, 2011
7th St. Entry

There are some bands, when confronted with a small turnout at their concert, mail-in a brief, passionless show, collect their money and quickly move on to the next city. But in the case of Saturday night's CANT, Mirror Mirror, and Blood Orange triple-bill at the mostly deserted Entry, each band put their heart and soul into their performances and forged an undeniable connection with all of us who were lucky to be in attendance.

Opener Blood Orange is the brainchild of Devonté Hynes, formerly of Lightspeed Champion and Test Icicles. When Hynes opened his 35-minute set, there were probably around 25 people in the club, but that didn't stop him from delivering a stunning, stirring set that showcased his slick guitar skills and soulful vocals. After a moody instrumental intro that blended seamlessly into an impassioned rendition of "Champagne Coast," Hynes made the wise decision to bring his mic stand onto the floor, performing the rest of his rousing set in the midst of the sparse but utterly transfixed crowd.

From there the performance became transcendent, as Hynes fed off the energy of his fans gathered around him, soloing wildly while roaming the floor in front of the stage. He plays on top of pre-programmed beats and backing tracks supplied by his laptop, and while he would occasionally jump on stage to start up the next track, he came back into the crowd and continued the set amongst us. The distinctly Prince-like "Sutphin Boulevard" was especially potent, as Hynes confidently tore off his leather jacket mid-solo and never missed a beat.

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Photo By Erik Hess
Blood Orange

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Photos By Erik Hess

After a downbeat version of "Bad Girls," Hynes announced "This is a new song I've been working on." And when a member of the crowd said, "I bet it's great," Hynes smiled and laughed, saying "Let's wait and see." And indeed, it was quite great, as were all the tracks played during his electrifying set. After spirited versions of "I"m Sorry I Lied" and "Forget It," Hynes closed his performance with an epic, incendiary rendition of "Dinner," which found him soloing away wildly at my feet, as he sprawled on his knees entirely lost in the moment. He even threw his guitar in the air as they song drew to an untamed close, knocking over his mic stand in the process as he continued his explosive guitar work. It was a fantastic set, and was a clear testament to both Hynes' considerable talent and his professional resolve, not to let the lack of people in the crowd affect his performance in the least. Everyone who witnessed his show won't forget it anytime soon.

The crowd didn't grow much by the time the Brooklyn two-piece Mirror Mirror came on, but again the band soldiered on bravely, drawing mostly from their just released LP Interiors during their saturnine 40-minute set. Mirror Mirror features Ryan Lucero on guitar and David Riley on vocals and keyboards (although they do tour with a drummer, who headed back to New York just before our show), and their dark, electronic-tinged music perfectly captures the dark, gritty isolation of New York.

After coming down to the floor to sing the second track of their set, Riley laid prostrate on his back while Lucero hovered above him with his guitar, causing Riley to sheepishly joke after the song, "Hi. We're Mirror Mirror, and we're a little dramatic." And while that foray into the audience was an engaging attempt to connect with the crowd, the band spent the rest of their set in the comfort of the darkened stage, with only a flashlight held by Riley illuminating them. And their moody, mercurial songs went over well with the crowd, as their melancholy final numbers took on an ominous, prayer-like quality, sounding like desperate, synthetic hymns for the end of days.

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Photos By Erik Hess
Mirror Mirror

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Headliners CANT is the side-project of Grizzly Bear bassist/vocalist Chris Taylor (who also produced Blood Orange's latest record, Coastal Grooves). On record the project features a collaboration between Taylor and Twin Shadow's George Lewis Jr. (whose debut Taylor also produced), but in a live setting they were a four-piece, with Devonté Hynes on guitar and bass, as well as a keyboardist and drummer. They brought some added texture and depth to CANT's intoxicating music, with Taylor leading the way with his golden vocals while expertly tinkering with his many effects pedals throughout the show, coaxing exactly the sound he was after out of whatever instrument he was playing at the time.
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Photos By Erik Hess
After Taylor joked about there being a big country music show across the street (Keith Urban), and thanking us for "making the right choice," CANT opened their 45-minute set strongly with a moody version of "Too Late, Too Far," before switching gears into the soulful R&B sound of "Believe." A tense, emotional rendition of "Bang" closed with a dramatic, spiraling pulse and rhythm that washed over the modest crowd. The band really got to show off their talents on the threatening electronic explosion of "Dreams Come True," as the small room became engulfed in the wildly experimental sounds Taylor and his band were generating. Taylor then asked the crowd if any of us had seen the video that was made for the song, exclaiming, "It's really good, and quite scary."

The band really were in high gear at this point, tearing through a dynamic, volatile version of "She Found A Way Out," which featured Taylor's desolate vocals over a stormy, fuzzed-out bass and guitar riff that shook the tiny club. The atmospheric "Answer" was next, with the band hitting on a hypnotic groove that gradually built into an untamed finish that flooded the room with guitar feedback and a relentless, undulating rhythm. "Rises Silent" had a slow-burning simmering intensity to it that eventually morphed into an electric, free jazz-like breakdown at the end, showcasing the adaptability and expertise of all the musicians assembled on stage.

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Photos By Erik Hess
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After a touching, heartfelt version of "Bericht," the show closed with a spirited rendition of "The Edge" that was simply stunning, leaving absolutely no reason for the band to even attempt an encore (especially since the only track the didn't play from Dreams Come True was the 54-second instrumental track "Broken Collar"). It was a dramatic, impassioned way to end a truly memorable night, one which found each of the three bands expressing their art with a flair and a fire that would have easily entertained thousands, but perfectly suited the lucky few of us that were there just fine.
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Photo By Erik Hess

Critic's Bias: I love CANT's new record, but came away from the show a big fan of all three groups.

The Crowd: I don't think there were ever more than 50 people in the Entry throughout the entire night, including the bands and the staff.

Overheard In The Crowd: Just jaws hitting the floor.

Random Notebook Dump: Seriously, where were all the numerous, fanatical Grizzly Bear fans that have sold-out their shows repeatedly in this city?

CANT Setlist:

Too Late, Too Far



Dreams Come True

She Found A Way Out


Rises Silent


The Edge

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