SHOW REVIEW: Twin Sister + Moon King + Leapling

Twin Sister • Photo by Shawn Brackbill

After a last minute cancellation by headliner School of Seven Bells, Long Island based band Twin Sister stepped up to the plate for an electrifying performance that truly stole the show.  Singer Andrea Estella has a mesmerizing demeanor, and her hushed, waif-like vocals beckon listeners in.  The full band has a seasoned stage presence and sound quality. The band mates are clearly in tune with one another on stage, and this resulted in some great moments of ebb and flow between instrumentation.  The set focused primarily on their newest album In Heaven, which was released in 2011, although die hard fans did their part and called out for the oldies.

Twin Sister falls into the category of some sort of Dream Pop/Disco hybrid, and keyboardist Dev Gupta defines this style with a mastery of classic synth sounds.  Estella joked that Gupta has a space station setup onstage, and his pile up of gear certainly looked the part.  Gupta uses a modular synth, a Yamaha DX7 vintage synth, and a midi controller he hooks up to music software programs Logic and Ableton.  I appreciated the precision of his playing and his sonic choices, although it left out the option for more spontaneity on stage.  At one point, Estella wanted to add in a song the audience was calling out for, but it wasn’t set up on his computer to play, so they had to skip it.  Yet this small inflexibility was a small price to pay for the quality he adds to the overall sound.

A highlight of the night was when guitarist/singer Eric Cardona kicked in on vocals for the song “Stop”.  His crisp, easy flowing voice was a nice surprise to add into the mix part ways through the show, and I craved mores songs that could feature him as a singer.   The acoustic encore included only Andrea’s voice with Eric on guitar and vocals, which resulted in refreshingly exposed harmonies, even if the duo was a little inexact.  Twin Sister captures a bizarre, spacey calmness that is truly ethereal.  The band turned out to be a natural headliner at the Hall.

Twin Sister – Stop

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Moon King • Photo by Dave Sutton

Moon King was raw emotional content.  I couldn’t help but fall in love with this band’s sense of wild abandon.  Singer Daniel Benjamin is the heart of this group, and he seems to completely lose himself in his music.  I found myself desperately wanting  to come along with him on the trip.  The group has a grungy rock look, and I kept feeling I’d transported into an impromptu Bushwick basement party, but they certainly filled out the Hall.  It is interesting to see Moon King describe themselves primarily as a duo, when the drummer was such a strong tertiary aspect to the group.  He was all passion, and his hard driving beats propel the songs quite nicely.  But after a bit it was clear he was going to play full blast on every song.  As a result, the songs felt too similar to one another.  If Moon King could take a few steps back on a song or two, the results could be an explosive calm, and the audience would have come along for the ride.  Guitarist/singer Maddy Wilde’s dramatic guitar style and airy vocal harmonies are indispensable, and she could do well to take center stage more often.  The band had an energetic youthfulness that will be interesting to watch mature.


Stepping in as a last minute fill in, Leapling played the opening set.  This group has a laid back, indie pop feel, and they oscillate seamlessly between a simplistic, easy going style, and moments of more driven jamming.  Singer Daniel Arnes has a voice that sounds eerily similar to Benjamin Gibbard at times, and I found myself flashing back to my high school days of Death Cab for Cutie more than once.  Leapling’s performance was polished, and their loose, roomy style was a great kick off to the night.

When School of Seven Bells returns to Brooklyn, I will be sure to check them out, but in the mean time, I’ll be jamming out to my new find, Twin Sister.

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