Admiral Fallow @ Mercury Lounge NYC 20/03/11Written by admin on March 29th, 2011
Already making noise on the American front, Admiral Fallow played a knock-out set at Mercury Lounge this past Sunday to promote their album Boots Meet My Face. The venue that launched The Strokes, Mercury can be hit or miss; but along with the Bowery Ballroom it is a well-worth it stop for up-and-coming new bands, that is, if you can pull off an intimate setting. Intimacy, it turns out, is a band like Admiral Fallow’s strong suit.
On the tail end of their first ever US tour, tucked between Austin’s South by Southwest festival and a show in Boston, Admiral considered the show at Mercury a pit stop before making their way home back to Glasgow. Shocked at the turnout, singer and lead guitarist Louis Abott, lost in his own travel- weathered thoughts, played with his hat and talked about his misconceptions of Americans just before the show. “I can’t say I didn’t have preconceptions, but every one here is very nice; sometimes too nice,” he said while laughing, adding how much he loved, Texas. When pressed as to why he preferred Texas he said with a sigh, “I just spent all of my money on a tattoo. You know. When in Rome…”
With Numbers And Letters setting the tone for the night with their raw alt-country set, singer Katie Hasty flattened the audience with her vocals. The crowd already could hardly hold on to their beer cups by the time Admiral took to the stage.
The first few rows of the crowd were dancing before the music even began, matching the energy of the band as they tinkered with microphones. With such a small amount of standing room coupled with a low stage, guitar tuning became a quiet conversation with the audience. “I hear this guy sings with a Scottish accent,“ was occasionally heard above the din before the band breaks into ‘Delivered‘:
Got metal in your arteries,/
cameras in your bloodstream,/
heartbeats from your battery’s limited reserve;/
this is your end, this is your end.”
After some jokes about “not being able to not do an American accent,” the group launched in to the harmonic vocals of ‘Taste the Coast’, Sarah Hayes (flute and backup vocals) and Louis playing off one another’s talents, all light and catchy.
‘Subbteo’, Louis’s tribute to his home town, sounded out beautifully as he slammed the body of his guitar with his hands, mimicking the drummer’s movements as they played in lue of one another. After an extended moment of silence, the vocals kicked back in in absolute unison, Louis and Sarah’s voices matching one another perfectly. Cracking drums and heavy bass framed the nostalgic lyricism of the piece, with each word paced in such a way that every sentence could be clearly understood by the crowd, whether one knows the lyrics or not.
The band played a flawless set, broken up by the occasional joke about being the dirtiest, greasiest man alive from Louis or about David living in his old room with his parents.
When the band came to the front of the stage to sing Four Bulbs, immediately the piece is the highlight of the show. “We only play this song at small venues,“ they told the audience as they stepped away from the microphones, with only Louis brandishing his guitar. The audience grew dead silent at the heart-tugging song, written about moving out of your parent’s house for the first time. Goosebumps surely traveled across the arms of every audience member the song was so heartfelt, somehow made even more touching with the Scottish accent Louis can undoubtedly hold to any lyric.
‘Squealing Pigs’, the song that seemed to be the audience’s favorite, became the dance party of the night; the front of the crowd letting loose before the band died down into ‘Old Balloons‘.
After two encore songs, a dark acoustic cover of Elbow’s ‘Switching Off’ and a song so new it didn’t yet have a name (dubbed, Gum On My Shoe by a cheeky audience member), Admiral clearly made a lasting and fond impression on folks already fans and those new to the group.
Words: Ryan Elwood
Pics: Jamaalah Brown