Live Concert Photography: Mondo.NYC: I +Switzerland Showcase at DROM feat. Eliane Amherd and Stevans/FRANKIE at Piano’s 10/4/18
Founded by some of the originators of CMJ and its long-running CMJ Marathon, Mondo.NYC is a music, technology and innovation-based festival that within its first couple years has quietly taken the place of both the CMJ Marathon and New Music Seminar’s New Music Nights Festival. Interestingly, the third edition of Mondo.NYC, which will took place back in October found the global, emerging music, technology and innovation conference moving east across the East River to Williamsburg with The Williamsburg Hotel, Rough Trade and Brooklyn Bowl hosting daytime conference-related events. Interestingly, those daytime events feature partnerships with The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), Guild of Music Supervisors, Record Store Day, a collection of international consular and export agencies and others to connect fans, artists, music industry professionals, business pioneers and veterans, leading names in tech and music to network, trade ideas and learn in a rapidly changing industry landscape as well as inspired others to become the industry leaders and up-and-coming artists of the future. Live music took place on both sides of the East River with showcases being hosted by the aforementioned Brooklyn Bowl, Piano’s, Berlin, Arlene’s Grocery, Coney Island Baby, The Delancey, DROM, Hank’s Saloon, Niagara and N.O.R.D.
Unfortunately, because I wound up having tickets to Game 3 of this year’s American League Division Series between the Boston Red Sox and my beloved New York Yankees, I was only able to cover two days of the festival’s three days. And while being arguably, the most globally focused of the festival’s relatively short history, it was a mixed bag as far as quality of acts — and for its actual diversity. Whether that was because of scheduling or other issues, it was disappointing to see a festival that claimed it had a global focus to not see acts performing in more regional and internationally known genres — and to Asee a number of acts singing material in English. From the acts I saw during the festival, it felt like they could have done more to get women, particularly women of color to participate.
After catching A Place to Bury Strangers at a packed and cramped Union Square Doc Martens, I went to DROM to catch the I + Switzerland Showcase featuring some of Switzerland’s up-and-coming acts, sponsored by the Swiss consulate. I managed to get to DROM to catch the Swiss-born, New York-based singer/songwriter and guitarist Eliane Amherd and Swiss rock act Stevans.
Eliane Amherd is a Swiss-born, New York-based singer/songwriter, guitarist, composer and bandleader, who is deeply influenced by New York’s multi-cultural energy and sounds; in fact, her own sound draws from jazz, pop, funk, African, Brazilian and Latin music.
Amherd has performed as a bandleader or featured artist at some of the city’s best known venues, including SOB’s, Subrosa, The Blue Note, Nublu, BAM, Brooklyn Bowl and others. Adding to a growing profile, Amherd has toured across North and South America, Europe and Asia, playing at festivals in China, Thailand, The Philippines, Myanmar, Malaysia, Nepal and Mongolia, including Hong Kong’s International Jazz Festival, Beijing’s Nine Gate Jazz Festival, Shenzen’s OCT Loft Festival, Zhuhai’s Beishan International Festival, Kathmandu’s Jazzmandu Festival, Mongolia’s The Giant Steppes of Jazz Festival, Myanmar’s Yangon World Music Festival and Montreux Jazz Festival.
Her first two albums Now and From Now On and Skylines were released to critical praise and have received airplay internationally. But in her native Switzerland, she may be best known for arranging and producing the Swiss Miss sampler Heimweh, which featured a number of well-known Swiss artists including Eliana Burki, Nubya, Gigi Moto, Corin Curschellas, Mia Aegerter and others — and for being a contestant on the first season of The Voice of Switzerland.
Amherd has also collaborated with Randy Brecker, Marcus Strickland, Bill Ware, Hager Ben Ari and others, has contributed guitar in Pacha Massive‘s “Don’t Let Go” — and her music has appeared in the award-winning web series Constance Cooks, the award-winning Marc Meyers film Approaching Union Square and the NBC series Lipstick Jungle.
Featuring French-Swiss Yvan Franel (vocals, guitar) and Swiss-born Yann Secrest (guitar, vocals), the Swiss-based indie rock duo Stevans specialize in a sound that draws from electro pop, Brit Pop, indie rock and folk in a way that’s anthemic, hedonistic yet introspective and with the release of their first three albums, the duo have managed to build up a large profile across the European Union, opening for Coldplay, Deep Purple and Snow Patrol. Adding to a growing profile, the duo have played at festivals in London, New York, Paris, Vietnam and Lisbon.
I ended the night by heading to Pianos’ to catch FRANKIIE, a Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada-based dream pop band, comprised of Francesca Carbonneau, Nashlyn Lloyd, Samantha Lancaster, and Zoe Fuhr. Now as you may recall, the band can actually trace its origins to its members meeting and rehearsing before a December 2013 one-off gig. Each member of the quartet felt an instant and undeniable creative chemistry and instead of breaking it off after that initial gig, they decided to make it a permanent thing, eventually touring across much of North America.
2015’s self-released debut EP Girl of Infinity landed at #34 on the National College Radio charts, and as the result the buzz surrounding them, they landed a gig at that year’s Todos Santos Festival organized by R.E.M.‘s Peter Buck. After a busy touring schedule, the members of the Vancouver-based indie rock band tucked themselves away to write their Jason Corbett-produced full-length debut.