Tristen, Linfinity, Land of Talk 11/21/09

Recently, I found myself eagerly staring straight into the smirking face of a night with a three-show stomp through the LES lined up, and since I like me some time travel, here they are in reverse order.

Land of Talk was the late night headliner at Mercury Lounge and I’d heard that lead singer Elizabeth Powell had replaced both bassist and drummer, so I was quite interested to see how the band performed their classic songs. Imagine my surprise when they opened with four members instead of the normal three. My heart sunk a little for a moment, but I’m very happy to report that this Canadian act was as tight as I’ve ever seen them play; polished to a high shine, oh and after the first song, they went back to the three piece ensemble.

Any suspicions I may have had that LoT had morphed into an altogether different act were quickly blown away as “Give Me Back My Heart Attack” was executed with near flawlessness, and it was apparent that Liz was enjoying herself thoroughly. Already one of the most interesting guitarists out on the Canadian scene, hearing her riff over music she’s been playing for over two years now was a real treat. They even extended some of the songs and experimented with verses on others.

Both the new members were very impressive, especially the drum solos of the dude who could have only been Canada’s version of Jim Halpert. The house was sold out and you can’t get better than the Merc for intimate energy infused shows. The band was feeling it too, rocking out but keeping such tight time that they never overplayed their hand.

As always, Powell’s voice was sent on the wings of angels, ethereally articulated, and drawn out with aching emotion. A new offering called “May You Never” stood out, off the new Fun and Laughter EP. It had this whole Native American vibe going on, with the beat and chanting vocals right out of a vision quest. If you don’t know this act yet, I highly recommend them, a must check out situation.

Earlier in my journey was the six-piece bouncing prog rock of Linfinity, a local group of musicians. Their number comfortably filling the stage at the Mercury Lounge, this troupe’s lead singer transfixed me. The dude has this stage presence that oscillates between frantic and soothing, his intense blue eyes sweeping the crowd with a riveting gaze as a Vedder-like voice haunts the proceedings. The rest of the band are all great musicians, with the violin and lead guitarist standing out, though I thought the keyboard was superfluous. Warning, this band likes to play loud and it’s easy to loose sense of the more subtle instruments in the mix because of it. Still, from the electric violin to the mandolin, this act had an inner tempestuous that was fun.

Kicking things off with a free show at Living Room though, I caught a trio out of Nashville, TN who go by the handle Tristen. Fronted by an exuberant and apple cheeked gal named Tristen Gaspadarek, I was really impressed with how well put together this act was. Not just another country/rock singer-songwriter act, Tristen packs a powerful one-two punch in their haunting cello and it’s handler, Larissa Maestro. What you’re really in danger of falling head over heels for though, is this act’s harmonies. With voices that astonishingly complement one another, these gals must have been either playing together for years, or else attended some sort of secret training facility deep in the Tennessee hinterlands. Check out this fresh act if you dig country gals.

Kenneth Joachim

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