My sister and roommate have been recently binge re-watching Gossip Girl and quickly fell back into its grasps. So when they asked if I wanted to head to BK for a Penn Badgley show, I was like: “cool, chill, tight, etc. idc but let’s go.” When we finally made it to Baby’s All Right and saw Mr. Badgley himself chatting with some fans outside of the venue, I still wasn’t impressed. I wasn’t going to fall victim to the celebrity of PB!
Quick back story: I’ve gotten into the routine habit of listening to minimal or no music from the artist before the show. When Alicia and I started this blog, it was mostly because of our love for live music. I think I say this in every post but it’s true: I want to be moved by the live performances and fall in love with the performers as they are on stage, because THAT is what traps me.
So, I rolled up (can you “roll up” on foot?), expecting a set of okay tunes, and was prepared to be only mildly entertained. What I got was an amazing show, filled with indie and electro-funk love songs, dramatic/spastic Lorde-esque dance movements and just enough mic (that he set up himself) grinding from Penn and his band, Mother. This Brooklyn-based band is so mysterious and very new. I can’t even name most of the songs they performed because no set lists exist online, videos on YouTube are scarce and they only have two officially released tracks…so bear with me.
M o t h e r, a four-piece synth-pop band, has an infectious and groovy sound. Its members, Simon Oscroft, Jimmy Giannopoulos, Darren Will and Penn Badgley on lead vocals, took me under by their blended sound. On paper, they are reminiscent of more popular bands like MGMT and Passion Pit. But they also reminded me of a more electronic version of Childish Gambino and his backing band. I sat there watching Dan Humphrey (like I first did with “Troy Barnes”) and wondered, “WHY HAS IT TAKEN SO LONG FOR YOUR MUSICAL GENIUS TO BE REVEALED TO THE WORLD.” Throughout the show I felt cheated—I could have been a fan all this time. Instead, I stood in place, overwhelmed by their talent and feeling like a newbie. #embarrassing. It wasn’t until later that I realized all of us were kind of newbies. Until Greetings From Tim Buckley, no one really knew that Penn could sing. And even six months ago, most folks didn’t even know what a Mother band track sounded like.
What’s fun about their music is that you can actually hear and pick out the genres that clearly influence their songs. While some tracks have a more, *ahem* electric feel, others sounded like they were dipped in R&B, but all being presented to us through a dark indie lens/filter. It didn’t take long before I was totally in the zone. Looking back on my notes from the show, I too frequently wrote down a lyric and simply put, “fu*k,” next it (sorry to my actual mother :-/). One of my favorite performances was their song, “Victim.” With its dark lyrics and track that I’d love to hear remixed by all of my favorite artists because it’s that good—you really get a feel for what Mother has to offer. Strong band, strong performer, strong music. Can’t wait to hear what their EP brings.
RCS’ Takeaway: Loved this venue. It’s similar to Piano’s and Mercury Lounge: restaurant and bar, with a concert/stage area and minimal backstage space and sometimes suspect acoustics. At one point, we were ordering a drink and all of a sudden the wall behind the bartender started to lower. If you’re not a crowd or concert junkie like me, you could enjoy the show from the concert of the bar or restaurant. Definitely need to get back to another show here ASAP!!