The opener and headliner duo of Field Report and PHOX at Music Hall of Williamsburg is quite possibly the best glimpse into the atmosphere of the upcoming Eaux Claires Festival in Wisconsin this summer I’ve seen to date.
Field Report’s lead singer Chris Porterfield wowed us all with his tales of heartbreak, struggles with sobriety and confessions of self-doubt. Even while armed with a smile onstage, his lyrics painted a far different picture, a man who has been broken so many times, the cracks remain visible in the shoddy armor. Field Report’s gentle confessions resonated. The low murmurs ceased near the bar. Everyone took 2 steps forward. Rapt and engrossed, we all listened earnestly at the tales that this man spew forward, accompanied so graciously by Shane Leonard on drums and Tom Wincek on synths and bass. Their sound is not all dusty boots, flannel and cracked leather as I so previously thought. Incorporating elements of electronica, alternative country, Americana, and indie folk provided such a richness and warmth I wanted to snuggle into it and never leave its side. For the opening band, Field Report generated such a positive response in their short time onstage that I would be surprised if they didn’t come back and headline this venue sometime soon.
On the other side of the coin, PHOX’s Monica Martin flitted out onstage; drink in hand, the lone girl of the group, but hardly out of place. Taking in the crowd, I heard whispers of “she’s so gorgeous,” and the prerequisite “I love her!” While these things are certainly true, she does not rely on her beauty to make a statement. Her voice is the thing of dreams. Steadfast, wholly unique and housing the perfect mix of playfulness and emotion. Her voice comes across so effortless and sweet, especially so during the entirely acoustic session that took place in the middle of their set, all the band members arranged in a semi-circle around the mic.
As the last note was sung, and I was leaving the venue, I overheard a lot of chatter about the show. Lots of “that was incredible,” and “ugh, so good!” I shuffled past the merch table and I saw Chris Porterfield in the coziest sweater I have ever seen, giving out hugs to anyone who came over and suddenly I wanted a hug too. All in all both these bands brought a taste of the Wisconsin atmosphere to Brooklyn. It felt like they’ve invited us all over for dinner, cake and coffee, with a shot of whiskey under the table.
Article by: Lesley Keller