LIVE REVIEW: Weeknight @ Mercury Lounge
Darkwave, coldwave, new wave, no wave, disco-punk, dance-punk, synthpunk, post-punk. As the music industry strives to coin new terms that will effectively pigeonhole each and every grouping of human beings making sounds with instruments, these vague definitions start to sound like some twisted Dr. Seuss book. Enter Post-Everything; it’s not a genre, but a cleverly-titled record by emerging Brooklyn duo Weeknight, aimed at obliterating the lazy classifications so often used to explain what we think we’re hearing.
It’s not that Weeknight don’t fit in to any of the above-named genres; in fact, they borrow heavily from more than a few. They don’t seem particularly concerned with crafting a wholly original sound, nor are they attempting to reinvent any wheels. In the two years they’ve been bouncing around the Brooklyn music scene, they’ve established something much more compelling. With Post-Everything, Weeknight have crafted something bigger than genre itself; they have curated an entire atmosphere. This is music that takes on a life, splashing through wet neon reflections in gutters or echoing through misty caves rimed in crystal formations. Ethereal synth washes, hollow drumbeats, and distant, hazy guitars unfold layer by layer, revealing the dual voices of Holly and Andy (who have withheld their last names, perhaps in keeping an air of the mysterious about them). The two share a beautifully removed method of delivery, almost always singing in breathy unison. Andy’s voice is not unlike the somehow spacious deadpan of The National’s Matt Berninger, while Holly’s laconic, whispered counterparts are a bit more feathery and harder to pin down. The lyrics read like a nihilistic but earnest love letter – tragically cursed scrawlings inspired by fatally unrequited adoration, less desperate but more impatient.
Those dark elements are conveyed as successfully live as they are on the record, which comes out March 4th via Hand-Drawn Dracula subsidiary Artificial Records. In support of its release, Weeknight are heading out on a two-month tour that kicked off last night at Mercury Lounge. Moments of fuzzy ecstasy, like their rendition of “Tonight”, were tempered with lush comedowns like “Whale”, each track perfectly articulated by deft synth patches and taut movements. The band’s sultry first single, “Dark Night”, offered just the right kind of slow build, bathing the rapt audience in a swirl of bleary reverb. Andy and Holly have toured tirelessly in the time that it’s taken them to piece together their brooding tunes – both headlining and supporting acts like Phantogram and Besnard Snakes – and in so doing have honed a perfect choreography, a seamless give-and-take.
The band’s moody aesthetic extended to the bill’s supporting acts; sets from BK dream-pop duo Courtship Ritual (who invited black-clad belly dancers to the stage), the slithering glitch of Certain Creatures, and carefully culled goth gems from DJ Mar Bar of Rituals NYC, all longtime friends and collaborators with like-minded sensibilities who helped Weeknight celebrate the past year’s successes and transport Mercury Lounge into another world. It happened to be the 20th anniversary of the East Village venue but the party was solidly for Weeknight. Post-Everything is poised not just to become one of the most talked about albums of the year, but also to redefine the way we talk about music in the first place.