Deakin, Highlife, Weyes Blood and Jason Urick at Floristree

Back on Friday I headed down to Baltimore to see a little last minute show at the beloved Floristree. The only thing I really needed to know is that Deakin was playing, who I’ve seen 4 previous times this year [new record!], but add in Jason Urick in his last show as a resident of Charm City, and I was set.

Jason Urick set up his Mac Book to the right of the stage, and started his layers of digital feedback and delay. It seemed more special then usual, knowing the long-time resident and iconoclast for the Baltimore music scene wouldn’t be playing as a resident for a long time [he’s headed off to an Asian tour and settling down in Oregon]. His beautiful drone kept going for 45 minutes without any interruption at all. He’ll truly be missed here in Baltimore.

Next, some acts that I wasn’t really familiar with took the stage. Weyes Blood, the solo project of ex-Jackie-O Motherfucker bass player Natalie Mering came on with a keyboard and a guitar. It was like a moodier Beach House if that is even possible. The keyboard came swirling out of the speaker with simple chord progressions overtop, and a voice like… well… Victoria Legrand. The lyrics were dark and melancholic, and just as soon as it began, it was over. I hope to be hearing more from her in the next few months.

Highlife came on next. I had been familiar with the name prior to this, and had expected something of a Ghanian highlife sound from him. And as far as guitar went, this is sort of what we got, but without the heavy drum part that flourished on his Best Bliss EP, it seemed sort of freak folk-ish. Vocally, David Gray came to mind, although I’m sure he wouldn’t particularly appreciate me saying that [kudos to Brandon for that]. His fairly short set seemed to be cascaded with songs about heartbreak and loss, however the guitar part added this sense of happiness to it. Handclapping in wonderful little beats wouldn’t really seem out of place.

Finally, Deakin set up his samplers, guitar, et cetera, but this time was different from the previous experiences as he had added someone to help him with drum beats [someone from Gang Gang Dance apparently]. At first these beats seemed out of place in the first song, which has evolved greatly since the first time I had seen him to a more droney, pitch shifted song. The percussion was out of this world by the end of it, probably in the most literal sense possible. Literally, I had never heard any sort of sounds like those, which is sort of what made it out of place. That and it had this sort of delay effect to it, which bothered me for some reason. Eventually these beats came into pace, and filled in greatly with Deakin’s angry, psychedelic sound. One thing I noticed is that Josh is now completely comfortable with his vocals and melody, which he seemed to have some major issues with previous times.

Overall it was a fun night, but lasted a bit long, causing me to leave about 10 minutes before Deakin ended his set, which is a little unfortunate, but hey, its the 6th time I’ve seen him, and probably not the last.

-Kevin

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