Au Revoir Simone at Velvet Jones

Paul Wellman

Au Revoir Simone at Velvet Jones

Au Revoir Simone at Velvet Jones

New York Keyboard Trio Draws Impressive Friday Night Crowd

If the crowd at Velvet Jones learned one thing Friday night, it was simply not to judge a book by its cover. Adorably outfitted and surrounded by an arsenal of keyboards, the young ladies behind New York three-piece Au Revoir Simone proved that there was far more to their live show than Casio nostalgia and feminine wiles, due to a solid set of newly penned tunes and a hearty helping of witty banter. Fresh off the completion of their third full-length, Still Night, Still Light, the trio-made up of Erika Forster (vocals, keyboards), Annie Hart (vocals, keyboards), and Heather D’Angelo (vocals, drum machine, keyboards)-dished out more than an hour of delightfully lush synthpop to a brimming crowd of onlookers-an accomplishment that even they noted as surprising.

Annie Hart
Click to enlarge photo

Paul Wellman

Annie Hart

You’re proving that you don’t need to be Jimmy Buffet to play a beachside town,” the girls enthusiastically noted not long into the night. (A post-set discussion confirmed the band’s delight and excitement over the show’s sizable turnout.)

Swathed in light and encircled by a Korg, Nord, and Roland, respectively, Forster, Hart, and D’Angelo swapped lead vocal duties throughout the set, each bringing a different pitch and personality to the tunes they commanded. Where “Stay Golden” (led by Forster) worked as a naive lo-fi ditty about optimism, “Trace a Line” took on a far more melancholy tone, thanks to Hart’s deep, hushed cadences.

Erika Forster
Click to enlarge photo

Paul Wellman

Erika Forster

Additional highlights included the fast-tempo head-bopper “Anywhere You Looked” and “Through the Backyards,” off the band’s 2006 debut, Verses of Comfort, Assurance & Salvation, which found the girls dreamily harmonizing around a lone, minimalist keyboard riff. In between songs-and the occasional instrument malfunction-the trio fluctuated between gracious and goofy, continuously thanking those in attendance and killing time with a cheese-ball knock-knock joke or two. But in the end, it was the set closing one-two punch of “Tell Me” and the clap happy “Knight of Wands,” the band’s most spiraling and synth-driven number off of Still Night, that confirmed their musical worth-and squashed any notion of Au Revoir Simone working some sort of girl band shtick.

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