I’m 21 years old, and I feel old as shit. Somehow, I managed to skip right over the quarter-life crisis and hopped right into the deep pool of existential dread that 40-year-old men live in fear of. That being said, premature adulthood has encouraged me not to spend my weekends in sweaty frat basements anymore.
What does this have to do with art? Well, because I have grown more adventurous with my mental age, I spent my Friday night at Downsquares in Station North, where Florida based indie group LANNDS was playing a show as part of their week-long tour up and down the east coast.
Rania Woodard and Brian Squillance are the musicians behind LANNDS. They released their debut EP Wide Awake in a Sleepy World in August 2016. This four-song EP is beautifully bare. An echoing guitar stands alone in the absence of a beat and melds with the deceptively effortless production.
The beats have a particular vocal quality to them that makes Woodard’s own singing seem like a natural extension of the synths. If a black sand beach — preferably in Iceland — covered in the fragile sunlight of an overcast day made a sound, it would be something like Wide Awake in a Sleepy World.
All that being said, I had never heard of LANNDS before I went to their show at Downsquares. Of course, I did my research beforehand and particularly enjoyed their latest single “Hourglass,” which is off of their forthcoming EP Legends, to be released in 2018.
Apparently I’m not alone in that opinion because “Hourglass” was featured on Spotify UK’s New Music Friday playlist after it was released on September 22. Yet, listening to some MP3s doesn’t really prepare one for a live show, so I wasn’t sure what to expect.
LANNDS was the last act to play, preceded by three local bands: Faceless Ones, Little Lungs and Liberata. Unfortunately, I missed all three by grossly mistiming my arrival, but they’re worth checking out.
Faceless Ones, who are from Frederick, Md. released their album Redwood Lodge, which can be found on SoundCloud and iTunes in April 2017.
Little Lungs put out their single “Darling” late last month. The song is featured in a short film of the same name, made by Amanda Ferrarese.
Liberata, according to their own description, are named after the Italian patron saint of lost causes. They released their self-titled six-song EP in January of this year. The latter single and EP can both be found on the artists’ respective Bandcamps.
By the time I got there, LANNDS was already setting up, and it was less than one beer until they began their set. Interestingly, Downsquares does not ostensibly seem like a great place to see music; it is essentially just the basement of Joe Squared, the pizza restaurant. Somehow though, the acoustics are insane, and the few shows I have been to there have all sounded great.
This was no exception; Woodard’s voice filled the room with a sort of ambient calm, a sensation furthered by Squillance’s production.
For most of the show, I leaned against the wall with my eyes closed and just enjoyed the sound, fairly uninterested in anything non-auditory that was happening around me.
That seems like a positive review of a live performance; if you don’t feel like you have to look at anything because the music is so absorbing, odds are it’s good music.
It was a short, tight set, with only brief pauses between songs. The band wasn’t particularly talkative; they thanked the crowd for being there and talked about Baltimore a bit, but mostly they just played.
That might come across as aloof or distant when playing to an arena, but, in a venue when you’re on the same level as the band and they’re less than five feet away, it’s sort of comforting.
The music takes absolute precedence and the atmosphere is more like an informal jam session than it is a concert. It was all just really, really nice — the music, the mood and everything.
Circling back to my seemingly pointless and narcissistic introduction, I’m really glad that maturity — and the advantageous position of being an Arts & Entertainment Editor at The News-Letter — have encouraged me to expand my nightlife options.
Instead of drinking lite beer in a dark basement, I spent my Friday at a great concert, which coincidentally happened to be in a basement that served lite beer. Had I not gone, I would have missed out on a good show by a band of which I am now officially a fan.