Little Joy at SOhO
Ryan Grau

There’s a lot of bad music out there. I know, because for the past four years, most of it seems to get sent to my mailbox from public relations firms tasked with getting their clients reviewed in our paper. While the endless supply of mailed CDs and, increasingly, emailed digital albums means that everyday at the office can feel a little bit like Christmas – albeit one where most of your presents suck – it’s also made me really appreciate the good stuff.

So on Tuesday morning, when a friend sent me an email about checking out Little Joy at SOhO that evening, I was happy to discover – via YouTube, MySpace, Wikipedia, and the other sorts of nifty 21st century info-gathering tools – a band that I immediately liked and, thanks to the song “Brand New Start,” already sorta knew – even though I didn’t know I knew them. (Still not sure where I’ve heard the song before, but I knew some of the words, which was weird.) If you haven’t heard of them, all you need to know is the band consists of The Strokes‘ drummer Fabrizio Moretti, his chanteuse-y, multi-instrumentist girlfriend Binki Shapiro, and singer/guitarist Rodrigo Amarante, from the Brazilian band Los Hermanos, and that they play a very appealing blend of rocky folk, based largely on the cool crooning of Amarante.

Better yet, take a look at my research, which included this video:

And this one:

And the rest of them, viewable here.

And like that, I was going to the show with some friends. Though it “started” at 8 p.m., there were some openers, including The Coral Sea‘s Rey Villalobos, and when I arrived at about 9:45 p.m., Little Joy was just starting to set up. To the delight of the properly dressed hipster crowd (undersized sweaters, perfectly shaggy mops, tight jeans, dark rimmed glasses), they finally came on around 10 p.m.

Little Joy at SOhO
Ryan Grau

To no one’s delight, however, it was quickly evident that they were missing a third of their trio, namely Fab from The Strokes. That fact became official when Binky announced as much a few songs in, but explained it was Fab’s birthday, and asked the crowd to sing “Happy Birthday” together. The rendition was a little weak, no doubt due to the despair of Fab not being there, though another birthday girl named Lauren (I think) did get more than the normal number of people to wish her well in song.

But Fab-less turned out to be fabulous enough, and Little Joy – backed by a bunch of extra guitarists and other musicians – played all the songs we wanted them to, and a couple others, such as a cover of a song by The Mamas and the Papas. Amarante’s voice, intense facial expressions, and over-emotive energy carried the night, though the ending was also a bit abrupt, at about 11 p.m., with apparently no chance for an encore.

All in all, the crowd was pleased with the music, albeit a bit dismayed about the lack of Fab and an early retreat. Of course, being home by midnight certainly made getting to work a little bit easier on Wednesday morning.


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