Live Concert Photography: Emerging Music Festival at Bryant Park 8/19/16 feat. EMEFE, Acid Dad, Mikaela Davis, Odetta Hartman and Gemma
Bryant Park Presents is a performing arts series produced by Bryant Park Corporation with the intent of creating adventurous and immersive cultural events in one of Midtown Manhattan’s most famous and beloved parks. This current season was comprised of more than 50 events from concerts, theater and dance performances, dance parties and more — including the second annual Emerging Music Festival, a festival specifically focused on innovative bands, who specialize in crafting music and sounds that offer a unique twist to most New Yorkers.
Comprised of primary members Miles Arntzen (vocals, drums), who has also been a member of Antibalas and JOVM mainstay acts Superhuman Happiness, Michael Harlen (guitar, vocals), Jas Walton (tenor sax, vocals), Doug Berns (bass, vocals), Jake Pinto (keys, vocals), Javier Ramos (percussion, vocals) and featuring Nick Kokkinis (percussion), Tyler Kaneshiro (trumpet), Morgan Price (baritone sax), Domenica Fossati (percussion), Jacob Sunshine (guitar), Ray Mason (trombone) and Billy Aukstik (trumpet) as part of the live stage show, the members of EMEFE over the course of three full-length albums and two EPs have developed a reputation for a sound that draws equally from Afrobeat, soul, New Wave, funk and rock in a way that feels both familiar and alien, and for a joyful live show that frequently includes members of the band jumping into the crowd with their instruments and playing in the crowd. Sadly, as the band announced, their Emerging Music Festival was to be their last performance together as a band — and they made sure that their last live set together was a joyous, lengthy set featuring material across their seven years together.
(Photo Caption: EMEFE performing at the Emerging Music Festival at Bryant Park last month.)
Named as The Deli Magazine‘s Best Emerging Artist last year, New York-based indie rock band Acid Dad, comprised of Vaughn Hunt (guitar, vocals), Danny Gomez (guitar, vocals), Kevin Walker (drums) and Sean Fahey (bass) have developed a reputation for a sound that they’ve dubbed psych punk, as their sound possesses elements of psych rock, punk rock, guitar pop and garage rock — and for a relentless touring schedule around town.
(Photo Caption: Acid Dad performing at the Emerging Music Festival at Bryant Park last month.)
Earlier this month, I managed to shoot the Rochester, NY-born 23 year-old singer/songwriter, composer, arranger and harpist Mikaela Davis, who has recently been splitting time between Nashville, TN and Brooklyn. Davis has quickly received attention for crafting gorgeous and moody arrangements that possess elements of psych rock, folk, chamber pop paired with lyrics and vocal stylings which display both a wisdom and ruefulness that belie her youth — and for an unorthodox approach to the harp in which she plays her harp in a similar fashion to the guitar, frequently playing it to crate a pulsating texture or to emphasize both melody and rhythm simultaneously. Now, earlier in the month I saw Davis play a gorgeous solo set; however, her Emerging Music Festival set included a backing band that featured Shane McCarthy (bass) and Alex Cote (drums) playing singer/songwriter indie rock-leaning material.
(Photo Caption: This happy dog was also enjoying the afternoon and evening’s music.)
With the release of her first strictly solo effort 222, singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Odetta Hartman, along with her frequent collaborator and producer Jack Inslee specialize in a hyper-modern take on cowboy soul that incorporates folk. musique concrete, psychedelia and electronic production and paired with Hartman’s sultry vocals — and the end result is a sound that’s reminiscent of Daughn Gibson‘s unique take on country; in other words, a sound that can be eerily spectral and sensual.
(Photo Caption: Odetta Hartman performing at the Emerging Music Festival at Bryant Park last month.)
Opening the evening was Gemma, an indie pop act comprised of Felicia Douglass (keys, vocals), Ethan Bassford (bass), Erik Gundel (guitar, vocals) and Tim McCoy (drums) that specializes in a sound that the quartet has dubbed “silky electro pop that features layers of samples of carefully selected found sound from old, forgotten music paired with a breezy pop and Douglass’ plaintive vocals.
(Photo Caption: Gemma performing at the Emerging Music Festival at Bryant Park last month.)