Devon Church at Wonderville (photo by Kate Hoos)
Wonderville, the arcade/bar/performance space located on the edge of Bushwick and Bed-Stuy, is known for hosting electronic music, but more traditional bills of local pop and indie bands are not unknown there, and this past Tuesday night offered a trio of acts for enthusiasts of such music.
In the first slot was Weird Magazines, a quartet from Brooklyn, performing in their debut. The first show for a band is always a nerve-wracking event, but fortunately for them, it seemed to go off without a hitch. Weird Magazines play lush, reverb-laden songs filled with glittery strumming and some top notch guitar noodling, bringing to mind The Clientele or Felt, which pairs nicely with singer Sean Beard’s baritone voice. They started the set off slower, building energy as they went toward more upbeat songs, and included a languid cover of Lindsay Buckingham’s “Trouble.”
Pastel Hell are the experimental, sometimes psychy, occasionally surfy pop outfit and project of Alex Fox Tschan, who performs all the instruments on their latest album but is backed up live by a trio of musicians on keys, bass and drums. His influences reach back to such greats as Bowie and Destroyer, and dare I say I hear some Television in here? The live set is presented to the audience as one continuous track, each song moving into the next, an interesting contrast to their latest studio album Ruthie. Tschan’s guitar work is certainly something, and it’s fun to see a Gibson SG being wielded to create such tones rather than the harder rock it’s sometimes associated with.
Headlining the night was Devon Church, who recently released the album Strange Strangers (that we covered here). Unlike the release show, where Church was joined by a number of musicians, here he performed a solo set, with the addition of Ada Roth on backing vocals for a few tracks as on the album. Church took advantage of the change and the intimate venue to debut a number of new songs, including one that will possibly be called “Neon Genesis Fidel Castro” that went hard as nails despite being performed by only one man and a (albeit electrified) guitar. “Ephemera” and “Winter’s Come” from Strange Strangers took on new life when broken down their bones, highlighting Church’s masterful songwriting skills.
Sometimes on a Tuesday, you don’t want to go hard, but you do want to go out, and this bill provided the perfect midweek treat.
Scroll down for pics of the show (photos by Kate Hoos)