As much of Williamsburg snoozed in their studios, Baby’s neon green “All Right” splashed down on the darkened streets with a welcoming glow. The lazy holiday week, which was predictably slow for shows, was suddenly punctuated by a high-powered performance from Brooklyn’s Great Caesar last night.
Even better, their set was bundled with a strong opening act, It Came From Space, whose all-instrumental psych was cooked up with great chemistry. Showing off some brand new songs, “Satellite” and “Bad Trip” among them, the Oceanside, NY rockers had us banging our heads to their insane syncopation and uncluttered, mystical riffs. The band jammed their way to a particularly thrashy climax, even flinging a guitar down to the floor in satisfaction.
The audience was in the same mood, and were soon cheering eagerly as Great Caesar filed on; trumpet and flugelhorn in tow, foreshadowing the slick improv ahead. The six-piece quickly built up their many-layered, chamber rock sound, opening with the head-on honesty of “Kiss Me Again” from this year’s EP, Jackson’s Big Sky. Between frontman John-Michael Parker and the talented Niki Morrissette, the harmonies alone had the crowd on their toes. But their vocals were more than just concordant; there was real romance there, and a whole lot of soul.
In a blend of alt-rock and folk-pop that never stopped moving, Great Caesar were firing on all cylinders; Tom Sikes supplying bold horn solos, Mike Farrell riffing on guitar, bassist Adam Glaser and drummer Tom Stephens locking in the rhythm. Their fans were singing right along with them – that is, until they were treated to some brand new songs, each one showing promise for the debut album to come. The memorable “Eloise,” which Parker explained only was “written for a little girl,” was something like a modern-day “Dear Prudence,” reaching its brightest peak with the lyrical message, “All little girls gotta fly,” and a hard-rocking outro from there.
But perhaps the coolest part about Great Caesar’s set was not watching them, but watching them watch each other. They were visibly excited to hear their bandmates play certain parts – and that kind of dynamic will always be contagious.
Article: Olivia Isenhart
Photos: Shayne Hanley