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.
“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.
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.