I love Rough Trade. Between the sound quality, the record store attached to the venue, the general layout of the room, and plenty of other reasons, Rough Trade has quickly become one of my favorite venues. As I walked into the room on Monday evening, Stalking GIA was on stage, showing off her charisma and sheer vocal range. The cool, suave, electro funk sound was a delight to the ears. Her use of echo, both electronic and real drums, and a serious emphasis on rhythm allowed her to distinguish herself from the rest. A definite standout from her set was “Loveless,” which was ultra percussive, which I always enjoy. She was flirty and fun in her delivery, and the general vibe just worked for her. Another highlight from her set was her closer, “Born Free.” Before beginning the song, she explained to the crowd that this song is “basically everything I stand for,” and how she yearns for a “universe of equality.” The song was slightly anthem-like, and very catchy. I found myself singing along to the track’s hook by the middle of the song. Her confidence and style fuel her spirit as she performs, and it was a joy to watch her completely work it.
Up next was Basecamp. This Nashville-based group brought us all of the chill vibes on every possible level. The low-key essence of their music is relaxing, yet powerful. The trio was giving us slow jams that we could really groove to, but the best part about this music was the lead singer, Aaron Miller’s epically smooth-like-silk tone. Let’s just say, if he ever wanted to sing me a lullaby, I wouldn’t say no, that’s for sure. With their reverberant melodies and funky bass lines, I was drawn in from the first minute of their first song. A great moment from their set was a cover of “All That She Wants” by Ace Of Base. First of all, hearing that song, totally chilled out, and sung by a man, differentiated it already. Secondly, their artistry was so obviously clear, as they made the track their own. I truly believe that Basecamp would have a hit song if they released their version “All That She Wants.” The electro R&B was so calming and lovely; I never wanted it to end. Also, I think one of my new favorite songs has emerged from Monday night’s set in “Emmanuel.” I couldn’t wait to go home and download this track and learn every word to sing at their next show. It’s powerful with an incredible hook. Beyond that, the vocals shined through so brightly. It’s a refreshing and unexpected surprise to go to a show and be completely blown away by an opening act. I have to say, Basecamp gained a true fan in me.
Before long, the room was packed solid with Miami Horror fans, reveling in the excitement as the stage was being set up for their performance. The lights dimmed and they took the stage to a delighted and roaring crowd. They immediately brought us the upbeat funk vibe we had been waiting for. The energy level was at a constant high, both on stage and in the audience, as they opened with “I Look To You.” They proceeded through their set with an incredible rendition of their song, “Real Slow,” which had the crowd singing along. The psychedelic and colorful screen projections behind the band further emulated the loose and fun vibes they were emitting. Miami Horror made it nearly impossible not to dance when they played “Moon Theory.” One of the best moments from the entire evening was when Miami Horror invited Basecamp’s Aaron Miller back on stage to sing “Cellophane (So Cruel)” with them. The mixture of Miller’s smooth and sensual vocals over the more upbeat theme of Miami Horror’s music was quite the blend! It was exciting and fun to be a part of, and it was great to see the two groups meld together so well.
Another incredible highlight from the evening was the performance of “Love Like Mine.” The track was easily the funkiest yet, causing an even more intense dance party among the audience. Everyone was jumping up and down like a modern day disco. The band was also jumping around, getting into the funky jam, when lead singer, Josh Moriarty jumped up to scale the balcony of Rough Trade. The audience and lights followed him as he wrapped around half of the venue, hanging from the balcony. He jumped up to party with folks on the balcony and then jumped back down to the main level, as he made his way back to the stage through a crowd of roaring supporters. Once returning to the stage, he grabbed his guitar and continued to rock out with even more spirit than before. The energy kept on building, even when you didn’t think it was possible. There was such a unique give and take relationship between the band and the audience that kept the flow of energy alive and thriving.
Miami Horror closed the show in true style with their song, “Holidays.” The crowd never became tired and never stopped partying the entire night, and the last song was no exception to that. While chanting the lyrics and jumping around, the members of Miami Horror were all smiles, as they knew they put on a great show. Even though the party was raging and it was easy to get lost in the sound, I paid close attention to the lyrics of the song. The words “I don’t know just where you came from, but I need you now. If you leave me for the stars, that’s something I’d never allow” rang out in my head, as the satisfied crowd cheered in one long lasting burst to finish out the evening.
Article: Alex Feigin