If you were looking for a live music hub in Manhattan, you probably wouldn’t start your search on Wall Street – but that’s one of the things that makes Mailroom so special. As downtown offices went dark and businessmen hustled home, a party was brewing beneath the unassuming WeWork space that marks the entry to the venue; an actual, functioning mailroom transformed into a groovy nightclub, and a fine spot for our Pancakes & Whiskey Presents showcase on Wednesday. With comfy bench seating, vintage pinball machines, and just enough disco ball action to light the underground space, guests enjoyed the cool atmosphere as they worked up a whiskey buzz and looked forward to Brooklyn bands Rips and Beverly.
Building the energy in the room with a short-and-sweet opening set, Rips brought waves of distortion, quick and dirty tempo changes, and their fretful boy-next-door vocals to the stage. Their punky delivery, an everything-sucks-so-I-wrote-this-song kind of vibe, was front and center as the indie rockers opened with “Break” and “Malibu Entropy” from the self-titled debut LP they released last year. They were soon pulling from it again with “Losing II” and “Delay,” and the room responded well to Rips’ hard strumming and the fast-paced release of emotion. The handwritten setlist at their feet also included the lesser-known “Mirror,” and a few unrecognized songs, including “Sensation” and “Contra,” which seemed to be brand new. Once they’d thrown it all out there and earned a flurry of applause, the band was a quick to acquire drinks and blend into the crowd, who were visibly psyched for the headliners.
The fellow Brooklyn-based band had come with some serious buzz in tow, because Beverly were met with big cheers right as they strolled up to the small stage. Their core members, singer-guitarist Drew Citron and bassist Scott Rosenthal, were joined by an energetic ensemble, who supplied excellent harmonies and cooked up the flavorful base for each of their stick-in-your-head songs. Fans of the indie pop band were treated to a varied setlist on Wednesday night, with instant standouts like “Honey Do” and “Madora” from 2014’s Careers getting everyone bouncing happily. Of course, they also got a good dose of their latest record, 2016’s The Blue Swell, with songs like “Don’t Wanna Fight,” “Bulldozer,” “Crooked Cop” and “Lake House” grabbing attention throughout Beverly’s rosy performance.
Drew Citron’s magnetic stage presence made it nearly impossible to shift your focus, and her vocals were elegant and powerful, yet vulnerable and serene. Her charisma between songs also made Beverly’s set a memorable one as she found a way to break down barriers early on. “No jumping…no jumping around! Very volatile,” she teased, poking fun at the chill crowd. She was unafraid to ditch the stage and get right on the floor with her fans, and the possibility that she’d do it again kept them constantly engaged. Even small actions – like when she curiously reached up to touch one of the sparkling disco balls overhead – seemed to signal a sense of ease and unhurried musical bliss. The feeling was contagious throughout whole set, and the warmth of their dreamy sound stuck with us long after the evening had ended.
Photos: Shayne Hanley
Article: Olivia Isenhart