Hundred Waters, Moses Sumney, and Natalie Prass, February 13, 2015 @ El Ray Theater

This was my first show at the El Rey in Hollywood. It’s a nice room with some impressive chandeliers, and a floor that’s recessed below two small tiers of additional viewing areas. Their beer selection is crap but my wife and I both commented on the nice, handsome bartender who served us said crappy beer.

We went into that recessed floor area to see the first opener, Natalie Prass. From Nashville via Richmond, VA (holla!), Prass played a pleasant set of songs that bobbled between rock and country. She reminded me a little of Jenny Lewis’ solo stuff, maybe a little more poppy. The pop side came out when she played an unexpected (for me, at least) cover of Janet Jackson’s Any Time, Any Place. It’s a B side on one of her singles; it was requisitely funky. Her debut has gotten good reviews, I’d recommend checking it out. For a three band opener, this was really good. I’ll expect to hear more from her.

After she finished, we moved up to the highest “level” and found a nice unobstructed view with a railing to lean on for the next artist, Moses Sumney. A solo act who uses electronics to accompany his terrific voice. He has some pre-programmed backing music but also used a live guitar; and his hands, fingers and mouth to create beats that would get layered on top of other elements, building a musical house from which Moses belted out his songs. He played two new songs that both got positive vibes from the crowd, so be on the look out for new material from him.  After his set, he joined the crowd to see Hundred Waters, as he professed during his set that their album was his favorite of 2014.

We had seen Hundred Waters last year at a church at SXSW. It was a perfect setting for their swirling, slow-build music and lead singer Nicole Miglis’ delicate voice.  This time around, they brought a bigger sound, a more confident Miglis (who seemed a bit nervous during the set we saw at SXSW) and a laser show. It was a different experience for sure, but still a good one.  Miglis’ voice can be Bjork-like in cadence and timbre, which suits the music behind her. I love how their songs can veer in between synth-noodling ala Echoes era Pink Floyd and full on rocking out with big beats in the space of one songs.  Stand outs from their set for me were Down From the Rafters, Out Alee and Cavity. Overall, a really good show by all three bands. Can’t ask for more than that.


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