Pancakes and Whiskey and Rukkus Present:

Spreading love is the Brooklyn way. And on Mar. 22, artists Everest Cale, Pol the Fisherman, Seasick Mama, and Rocket and the Ghost, hit the stage at Cameo Gallery to prove the truth of that old hip-hop adage.

Everest Cale began the night with the hard-hitting “Beauty on the Mountain” and “Before I Knew What Love Was.” Lead guitarist Jeremy Kolmin provided the grit and vulnerability, bouncing between the sheer loudness of “Before I Knew What Love Was” and the haunting mood that lingers over “Hole.” He handles the guitar with ease and experience, using his solos to inject chaos and control into the songs. Bassist Aaron Nystrup complicated the rhythm section he shares with percussionist, Nate Becker. Nystrup sounded unflinching, evocative notes from his bass, providing an extra layer to Everest Cale’s guitar-based rock.

The band’s overall progression in songwriting and recording—from the acoustic-tinged 2012 EP, Beast, to the electrically charged 2013 EP, Constellation Choir—drove much of the band’s set and vibes. These two records are about growth and progression, both in sound and content. Brett Treacy’s vocals and lyrics evoked how quickly one album can leap from certainty to confusion, most of which is brought on by love and lust.

Pol the Fisherman followed en suite with funk-filled riffs and punkish style.

The band, which hails from Europe and Australia, prioritizes the effects of images. Not only on the performing stage, but also in most of New York City. The band’s 2014 debut LP, Lady Lust, is like a raging love letter to the city, complete with visceral visuals. The lyrics contain fragments of the city, which includes vomit, drug binges, and not-so-pretty women.

Pol the Fisherman enlivens these images with their riffs, which ooze everything from sex and sleaze to angst and apathy. The band’s best moments were during the performances of “Smoke Grenades” and “Seventh Son.” Both tunes showcase the rapport between vocalists and guitarists Nicolas de Pontaud and Andrew Moore.

Seasick Mama’s lead vocalist continued to tantalize the crowd with funk-filled pop rhythms, witty lyrics, and evocative stage moves. Seasick Mama’s lead singer, Marial Eve Moon, writhes around the stage while guitarist Dylan Viola hammers soulful riffs on his Fender.

On the band’s opener, “Gimme Something More to Work With,” Moon sneers at potential romantic partner; on “Tees and Jeans,” she laments the fact that she has broken her rules in the midst of one-night stands. Moon’s lyrics are just one dimension of Seasick Mama’s attraction.

The band’s 2013 EP, Tip Top Shape, is filled with good, hard-edged pop music. It’s sweet and stinging, delightful and deadly. Will Fegan’s drumming sets the pace, while bassist Gianni Scalise and Viola create the room to dance just like Moon does onstage.

Rocket & the Ghost concluded the night, performing tracks off their self-titled debut EP as well as other tunes, including the outstanding “That Girl.” The band’s magic is in their ability to create a good time through beautiful vocal harmonies, honest-to-goodness lyrics, and charismatic stage personas.

Kiyoshi Matsuyama, the dynamic lead vocalist and bassist of the band, underscored these elements at Cameo. He slowed down the pace at the start of “Gold,” which is one of the more profound moments on the band’s EP. The band’s live performance of the track reconfigures “Gold” as an aching song that moves from a quiet, brooding intro to a full-on hard rocking instrumental. The audience danced as they sang along with Matsuyama and co-singers Alan Markley and Sean Gavigan, feeling that refrain, “All my love is gone.”

That evolution is centered on Rocket & the Ghost’s diverse influences. The band values stories in their songs. They use everything from intimate acoustic guitars to foot stomping and tambourine crashing to express these ideas. There’s gospel, revelation, and communion in their songs.

Article by Pam Segura and photos by Shayne Hanley

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