Bonsai at Pete’s Candy Store 11/25/14


Pete’s Candy Shop

November 25, 2014

As I’ve mentioned a number of times, running JOVM while having a full-time job often led to competing demands for my attention and time, and typically it’s lead to some delays with live show coverage. And with the holiday season, some things have slowed down enough to catch up on much needed work and it ties into a generally reflective end of year mode, much like my fellow bloggers and critics. 

Right before Thanksgiving, I stopped by Pete’s Candy Store in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn to catch indie rock/alt country band Bonsai, a band that received quite a bit of attention across the blogosphere after the release of the first two singles off the band’s self-titled debut EP, “I Fashion You a Dreamer” and “Bonsai Trees."  Comprised of the Brooklyn-based (by way of Hawaii and Los Angeles, CA) singer, songwriter guitarist and producer Simone Stevens; Dan Molad, who has worked with LuciusElizabeth and the Catapult and Here We Go Magic; Pete Lalish, who has also worked with Lucius; Stevens’ long-time friend and collaborator Greg McMullen, who has worked with Trixie Whitey and Meshell Ndegecello and Glen Branca; and Bryan Bisordi, who has works with Great Elk and Nels Cline, the band’s sound is hushed, atmospheric and hauntingly spectral – at times being reminiscent of T Bone Burnett’s dusty, old-timey twangy sound. Pair that with Stevens’ vocals which effortlessly glide over the instrumentation while evoking a quietly self-assured confidence and beguiling sensuality. After hearing her do EP single "I Like You, Man,” with a playful, coquettish charm, I think I fell in love. 

“Bonsai Trees,” one of my favorite songs off the EP, makes a lyrical allusion to relationships and the people within them being very much like bonsai trees. In other words, they need the right amount of attention and kindness they’ll flourish but with too much attention or with too little attention, they’ll perish. 

Admittedly, there was a rather sparse crowd at the tiny venue, but there were a number of friends and supporters of the band and it created a very warm, friendly vibe in which Stevens could joke with friends in the audience and with the band, and in some way it made it more like catching a bunch of friends jamming in the living room. 

Check out some photos from the set below.

For these photos and more check out the Flickr set here: