LIVE REVIEW: Quilt @ Mercury Lounge

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Quilt’s show on Feb. 28 was supposed to take place at Rough Trade, so obviously it took place at Mercury Lounge instead. It was an early show, with Quilt mounting the stage promptly at 9pm, but that seemed to suit the night’s comfortable vibe.

Natalie Mering, otherwise known as Weyes Blood, opened the show, joining Quilt for the remaining duration of their North American tour. She sings with her eyes closed, swaying gently as she grasps the microphone or strums her guitar, alone on stage but completely captivating the audience nonetheless. Her deep, ‘60s vocals bear a strong resemblance to Nico’s, but her loose-fitting, all white pantsuit somehow made her seem like a female John Lennon that night. Mering closed her set with a spellbinding cover of “Everybody’s Talkin,” originally by Fred Neil but made famous by Harry Nilsson. She infused the frequently covered track with her own soulfully haunting style, spinning it into some kind of trippy gospel song.

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Weyes Blood

Then came one of my favorite moments of every show: the moment when the venue’s lights are dimmed and the audience hushes its tones, turning away from its conversations to look towards the stage in anticipation of the main act. Quilt are a band that know how to milk that moment, and they appeared on stage with quietly reverberating guitars, framing their entrance with an ambient sound that whooshed all around the room, building up tension slowly but surely. The four-some took their time syncing up to each other, leisurely allowing themselves the right moment to start playing. And then, they started.

Opening with recently released Held In Splendor’s last song, “I Sleep in Nature,” Quilt used the hazy, lazy song to settle into their groove. Their live performances make it clear that their tunes hardly follow a pattern, which means their shows are equally as schizophrenic: you may be flailing to try and keep up with their guitar freak-outs one second, and the next, you may be gently swaying with arms floating listlessly by your side. “Saturday Bride” was a particularly memorable display of this ability, as Quilt flipped from one pace to another in virtuosic fashion, coaxing some dancing out of the laid back crowd. At a live show, you start to wonder how the band are able to keep up with their own compositions.

Many of their songs bled seamlessly into one another, with Quilt hardly saying a word other than “Thanks.” In fact, it was only about halfway through the show that the band greeted the crowd, adding a complaint about the bitter cold. But the room was warm and aglow with Quilt’s vintage folk sounds and Anna Fox Rochinski’s hypnotizing, honeyed vocals. Her gorgeous voice shone with songs like the popular “Arctic Shark.”

The brick walls and intimate size of the Lounge made for a great setting, but with music like this, you can’t help wishing you were outside in the sunshine, your bare toes dancing on fresh grass and the sun melting through your eyelids. Quilt’s songs truly come to life when played live. You get the feeling that the band are just having a great time jamming with one another, and they warmly invite the audience to have a great time with them.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

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