(All photos by Bebe Besch)
Brooklyn’s noise-rockers Pterodactyl were the main attraction last Friday night at The Vera Project. The quartet played a mix of ten songs from their self-titled album and their most recent releases Worldwild and this years’ Spills Out, released last month from JagJaguwar. Joe Kremer was center stage performing most of the band’s expressive vocals with guitar in hand. His defiant lyricism was complemented by shared lead duties with band mate Jesse Hodges who handles bass and whose vocals were humble and accessible. Together they developed melody through their ping-pong vocal style while drummer Matt Marlin joined in for backing vocals and indefatigable drum work.
Duncan Gamble rounds out the band as their newest member on the keyboard. Their songs from Spills Out shined as their newly incorporated stylistic elements were highlighted, including sampling from megaphones. While coming across as goofy and relaxed on stage, Pterodactyl effectively glowed with the experience and growth they’ve accomplished in the past few years. Excitement was prominent, and they genuinely appreciated those in attendance for their set. They even gave a shout out to The Vera Project itself in support for the venue’s concept, saying it had been their favorite venue to play so far on this tour.
Pterodactyl’s performance at The Vera Project was exhilarating. The new material they shared helped connect audience members with a familiarity many bands lack when testing reactions for the first time live. Pterodactyl will be an entertaining band to keep our eyes on in the near future as they continue to find confidence within their live shows.
1. Allergy Shots
3. School Glue
5. Old Clouds
6. First Daze
7. White Water
9. The Break
Tom Greenwood (from Jackie-O Motherf—-r) performed accompanied by bass and drum kit. Their set consisted solely of 2 drawn-out, ambient and experimental songs of which Greenwood says they created on the fly. Greenwood did however bring a plastic bag filled with pre-written lyrics to sing along to. The two songs played were impressive in length and attempt but overall redundant and drowning. There was one element of excitement in this performance, and that was Greenwood’s drummer. Sitting merely a foot off of the stage floor, he was transfixed in his own sanctuary of sound atop a large snowflake doily. He played his drums with passion in a number of unconventional styles including bending strumming his cymbal as he bent it.
Second act to the stage, Phillip Sambol displayed work that was depressingly beautiful. He strummed acoustic ballads that could be compared to a saddened Brett Dennen. In between songs, Sambol told stories, each with a tragic ending to preface his next tune. While each song was enjoyable singularly, Sambol’s demeanor left everyone with sorrow. Even as an audience member tried to reach out and break the tension by asking Sambol for a “happy story instead,” before one of his raw songs, Sambol replied “I’m just not the kind of guy who tells happy stories.”
The first group of the night, Feet, was a band full of college kids and Vera Project volunteers. Their energy was playful and laid-back as they introduced new band members and played engaging songs like one they wrote pre-college about what they thought college would be like, which you can watch recorded below: