Nothing could have prepared me for the show I witnessed on Thursday night at the Snapple Theater Center in midtown Manhattan. The album release party for Addi McDaniel and Jacqui Kerrod, who simply go by name Addi & Jacq, graced us with strong vocals and quite inventive harp playing, on both the acoustic and electic variants of the instrument. The duo, flanked by two backup singers and a lone percussionist, incorporated electronic loops to enrich their sound even further.
Addi, who did most of the talking in between songs, had an amazing sense of humor and unexpected comedic timing that she was about to incorporate into her lyrics, as well as a hilarious story about how a test she took in high school said she was most likely to become an ambulance driver. As I listened to her sing, I thought Addi’s voice came across completely natural and quite effortless. She was like that friend who you invite out to karaoke and she surprises everyone with how amazing she was. On the other hand, Jacq’s harp playing complemented her voice perfectly, the complexities and intricacies interweaving with every harmony. I’ve often heard that harp is one of the hardest instruments to learn, and Jacq, having started learning to play at age 9, expertly handled the instrument, and is responsible for a lot of the experimental songs the group has, pushing the boundaries of harp music forward.
Having met five years ago in the theater production of The Fantasticks, they formed a fast friendship, and later on began working on their own music that resulted in their debut album, Less Likely Places. The album spans from the delicate and acoustic “Home,” about how Addi’s parents met and fell in love to “Pink Phone,” which is downright danceable, which is something I’d never though I’d say about harp-based music.
After a healthy encore, the crowd spilled out into the adjoining room, and enjoyed various buns stuffed with bananas & nutella, ham & cheese, and spinach & feta, copious amount of gummi bears, which they both share a supreme love of, as well as never-ending cocktails. Addi & Jacq soon emerged to meet and greet with fans, family and friends, and everyone had the opportunity to leave kind words for them in a book that was passed around the room which I thought was a great way to hold onto the memories of the night.
Although Addi & Jacq are just getting started on their journey as a musical duo, their music is probably the most unique I’ve come across in NY in a while. Tour dates for 2015 are currently in the works, so be sure to check them out when they hit your town.
Article by: Lesley Keller