Doe Paoro @ Pianos - March 7, 2012
It’s quite telling when the talent of a band shines through in a live setting even when their set is plagued by sound issues. Such was the case last night for Doe Paoro, a Brooklyn band who played an overbearingly packed Pianos last night to a crowd that was eagerly anticipating their set. When I was asked what they sounded like before they came on, the only thing I could come up with was, “R&B... I think.” I don’t know if that’s exactly an inaccurate description. That label has really just diminished in the past thirty years, but there’s clearly still a literal use for it when a band’s sound is comprised of… well, rhythm and blues.
When lead singer Sonia Kreitzer took the stage (after a lengthy turnover from the previous band), the crowd quickly fell silent as she began singing the intro to her recently released album Slow To Love, and then went right into “Born Whole”--an extremely addictive and soulful song that is as beautiful as it is haunting. Unfortunately the drum pads her drummer was using were just not working, and was unsuccessful in getting the sound guy’s attention for the entirety of the song. As a drummer, I felt his pain, but the rest of the band (a standup bassist and keyboardist) did not miss a beat and plowed on with the song. Luckily, the band revisited the song, full drum sounds intact, at the end of their set.
And though Kreitzer’s voice was drowned in reverb for a majority of the set, it became apparent in a single moment when the reverb mysteriously cut out that she is a singer hiding behind nothing. The effect simply enhances the overall vibe--a dark, eerie and heart-wrenching vibe. I wanted to avoid the comparisons because it really just lies in the production of Doe Paoro’s music, but I was reminded more than once of the band’s similarity to James Blake’s sound. It could just be the deep bass sounds and the snappy, airy electronic snare hits, but there lies a startling affinity between the two acts.
The band is definitely one to watch, sound issues ignored, so if you’re heading down to SXSW next week you owe it to yourself to check out one of their performances (I’ve searched long and hard for dates/places they’ll be playing in Austin but have come up with nothing). Your next chance to see Doe Paoro in New York City will be on April 4 at Glasslands Gallery, which I strongly urge you to get a ticket for. Check out photos from last night, two official videos, and two songs from Slow to Love below...