On Thursday night, for the first time in nearly four months, the Morning Benders played live music. If the band was rusty after an extended stint in the studio, the sold out crowd at SOhO never noticed it.
The fact the band was fresh out of the studio actually made the night more interesting; after opening with “Promises,” off last year’s Big Echo the Benders played an EP’s worth of new songs. The material is dense and laden with sound, filled with spacey keys and saturated drum beats. It sounds like a sleepless night in Brooklyn, where the band is now based; carefully constructed beauty drowned in ambient noise.
Although slow-tempo music can be challenging to listen to live, frontman Chris Chu kept the energy high. He used the intimate space of SOhO to his advantage, lassoing the mike over the crowd, touching fans hands, and talking to the audience between shows as if they were across the table at a local coffee shop. Right before the band played “Excuses,” the lead single off of Echo, Chu smiled sheepishly and whispered, “This is an old one. You guys might know it.” Within 30 seconds the entire place had its hands it in air, singing along to the da-da-da-da-dum of the song’s infectious chorus.
One of the most entertaining aspects of Thursday night’s show was the band’s charming boyishness. A trio of baby-faced twenty-somethings, the Benders seemed newly inducted into the realm of fame. Even though they had to leave for Coachella that night, the band stuck around for over an hour after the lights up went, signing autographs and chatting with fans. One inebriated college kid pulled out his driver’s license to show Chu that his last name was “Bender.” Chu looked at the ID, smiled, and replied “Right on!” And that phrase sums up the night pretty perfectly.