Recently, I made my way out to the Music Hall of Williamsburg to enjoy a show with the ever-unique, 15-piece band, Jesus on the Mainline, supported by Animal Years, The Bone Chimes, and Bear Ceuse.
I had been trying nearly all summer to see Animal Years, so I was excited to make it to this show. My expectations were high, and Animal Years definitely lived up to their hype. Animal Years opened with “Meet Me,” and at first I was a little disappointed because the crowd was not fully engaged yet. People were talking over the performance and it was difficult to make out the songs, but once lead singer Mike McFadden started singing the higher, longer notes, the audience started to quiet down and even cheer. With attention and energy captured, I was able to enjoy and truly absorb the music.
I found McFadden to be adorably entertaining, and it was a joy to see how happy guitarist Matthew Indellicati was throughout their set. They seemed to be having such fun that I felt I not only had to join in, I also had to share, texting friends who were clearly missing out.
One of the highlights had to be the cover of Haim’s “The Wire,” which was one of two encores. Animal Years completely jammed to the song, and the crowd enjoyed it, as well, with lots of head nodding to the beat.
Other songs played included “Heart on Heart,” “Sun Will Rise,” “Let Go of Your Head,” and “Forget What They’re Telling You,” which has a pretty interesting video:
Jesus On The Mainline was a whole different story. I was not familiar with the band, and even what little I knew could not have prepared me for the experience of 15 individuals taking the stage and literally just making music. I honestly don’t know which songs were which, and I suppose that was mostly the point.
JOTM took their set as a time to purely jam out with their horns, drums, keyboard, vocalists, and absolutely insane electric guitarist. The atmosphere was just as crazy, and it did take me a little while to wrap my brain around what was happening. The talent was so evident, however, that it hardly mattered that there was no solid structure to the songs. The solos and the acoustic guitar especially blew my mind.
Another aspect that was different and exciting about JOTM was that for their last song, they had all the other bands come out and sing with them. Of course it added to the overwhelming sensation the 15-piece ensemble already created, but it also became a sort of concert within a concert. The other bands got to share in performing with their friends and fellow musicians in a way that mirrored the side of crowd participation they don’t often get to experience. It was a great bonding moment for all present, and an even better way to end the night.
That being said, the transition from Animal Years, who were extremely folky and indie, to JOTM’s full out funk, soul, rock sound was not a smooth one. It felt odd and a little disorienting. Though I enjoyed both sets, I was surprised by the lineup of this tour.
Nevertheless, I highly recommend you keep an eye out for upcoming dates to see Animal Years on tour, and if you’re looking for a new musical experience, definitely try to find your way to see Jesus On The Mainline.