Sunday we came out to catch Bowe Inc. Present: On An On with Eliot Sumner.
Aisle 5 is still the “new” kid in town to see music in Atlanta, getting better and better acts as the months pass. But can we talk about the lighting in this place? For a “smaller” venue, this will make any small band look like they played in a noteworthy arena. We love venues that invest in lighting! Thank you, Aisle 5.
Opening act Eliot Sumner, a bright and talented musician from across the pond, happens to have quite the musical upbringing by calling Sting, “Dad.” She started her musical career under the name I Blame Coco; eventually ditching it to go by her given name of Eliot Sumner. I’m sure, with having an iconic rocker parent, you can imagine the musical upbringing she must have had. Instead of taking the easy way out and riding her famous father’s coattails, she’s doing it on her own—and it’s working because people LOVE her. Her father’s influence is an indisputable birthright: her epicene vocal mimics that of his. Sumner produces a sound attributed to genres of new wave, synthpop, indie rock and electropop. Sumner has an album The Constant (Island Records, 2010) under I Blame Coco, and one EP Early Reflections (Island Records, 2015) under Eliot Sumner.
Her performance Sunday was so alluring. It gave all the right feels for this electropop-new wave fusion of music. Her melancholic vocals and murky lyrics remind us of good old 80’s new wave; bringing in influences that past generations loved about bands like The Cure, Blondie and The Police. Sumner is transforming that sound for today’s generation to appreciate by adding a more structured synth, giving it a fresh sound. Her performance at Aisle 5 was perfect. She played the heavy hitters from her EP Early Reflections: “Firewood,” “I Followed You Home,” “After Dark,” and closed with “Information.” I think the consensus for concert-goers was, “Wow.” And rightfully so because she deserved it. After that kind of set, it’s easy to see why she has such a heavy fan base. We are looking forward to a full-length album from Sumner, and a future headlining tour.
It was hard to believe after Eliot Sumner’s performance there was more to see that night, but indeed there was:
ON AN ON, a Minneapolis shoegaze-dream pop trio (Nate Eiesland, Alissa Ricci and Ryne Estwing) is touring to promote their new album The Wave Has Two Sides (Roll Call Records, 2015). You never fully know what kind of show you are in for when you see a band fueled in shoegaze. The questions going in are always: how well will it translate live?, am I in for a knockout performance?, or will it be a snooze? Sunday’s performance gave us what we expected from the band: It was neither the knockout, nor the snooze-fest—it was a good performance.
They played everything that people love from them, with the enthusiasm that people where expecting. The lull of the show was in the transition from the “old” ON AN ON we love to the “new” ON AN ON we aren’t quite sure of yet. ON AN ON’s first album Give In (Roll Call Records, 2013) is a completely different album from The Wave Has Two Sides. It’s a different sound from the band than we are used to, being more heavily influenced by pop then the gaze we are so fond of. But just as expected, ON AN ON brought all the goods from both albums to their set: “Drifting,” “The Hunter,” “All The Horses,” and “Icon Love.”
They are great performers in that they give every song the justice it deserves onstage. The band slowly guides you into the intensity of each of them. They smile when the crowd is reciting the lines to their songs back to them with the same intensity, and drinking in the swoon-worthy melodies of the dreamy shoegazed verses. The band closed their set with crowd-favorite “Ghost,” paying the song the worthy homage it deserves. Bringing the shoegaze up and leaving people swaying like willow trees to the eerie sounds from instrument and voice, quieting the crowd to the powerful lines of the last verse:
“I was on the verge to scream/When you wouldn’t scream about anything.”
Check out On An On performing “Icon Love” at Aisle 5 from the new album, The Wave Has Two Sides:
A few more photos from On AN On:
Check out more from Eliot Sumner:
Photos By: Mike Gerry
Review By: Lisa Parish