In order to bring you the city’s best, sometimes we need to travel to a borough that isn’t always on our radar for live music and this time it was a trip to Astoria, Queens to The Quays Pub for Doris Cellar. You’re probably wondering – why go all the way to Queens on a weeknight? We wondered the same thing as we rode the Q to the friendly neighborhood known for it’s tight nit communities and Mediterranean offerings. The commute wasn’t any longer than hitting up Bushwick or Williamsburg and upon arriving you are welcomed with tons of food and drink options that are less crowded and much cheaper than Brooklyn or Manhattan.
Walking into the modest Quays Pub felt just right – a classic Irish haunt that had a few regulars at the long wooden bar as a few televisions broadcast the Olympics on mute. The Guinness I ordered from the friendly bartender was a perfect pour and temperature – always the mark of a real pub. The bar began to fill up in anticipation of the nights performance as Doris Cellar, an Astoria native, put together her intricate setup including keys, guitar, samplers, loop pedals and a beautiful harmonium.
Once Doris Cellar’s set started, the mostly full bar was transfixed at the sounds and movements from the small stage as Cellar manipulated the knobs and strings around her. The first thing you notice is her voice, strong but not forceful, delicate all while being brash, but mostly it sounded really good, almost a bit retro in nature. Then you notice that Doris is a wizard with all the instruments she manages to play all while smiling and dancing. The multitasking that Cellar must do to make a full-sounding song on her own, doesn’t affect the flow of the songs or the set on a whole however and that’s impressive.
Throughout her lengthy two sets of music, Doris Cellar would dazzle us with multiple genres – A slow ballad on the guitar captured our attention and hearts, while the next selection would be a bombastic electronic dance track and had us bouncing up and down. Noteworthy songs played were “Mountains,” “Love Me With No Limit,” “Big Kiss” and “My Fantasy.” While eclectic in nature, it all seemed to work, even with a computer malfunction making her looping impossible, she flashed that great big smile and filled in the parts missing on the harmonium and it sounded great.
You can catch Doris tonight at Astoria Bier & Cheese Ditmars and she goes on at 7:30.
Article: Shayne Hanley