The first Tuesday of every month from September through June I know exactly where I’ll be – listening to some great new artists and meeting up with the growing group of Communion friends who all share the same love of the music. This past week, during the final stretch of a sultry heatwave, Communion Music kicked off the fifth year of its New York City residency. The month long tour, which hops from city-to-city, brings along a few headlining bands for the month, while also highlighting some local artists for the remainder of the evening. Communion Club Nights began in 2006 at Notting Hill Arts Club in London from the collective idea of Kevin Jones (Bear’s Den), Ben Lovett (Mumford & Sons) and producer Ian Grimble, as a way to showcase emerging artists. The club nights have flourished not only through residencies across the UK, but have quickly spread along the US east coast and are rapidly making their way westward. Communion has become the go-to of where I find new music. Bear’s Den, Catfish and the Bottlemen, Nick Mulvey, Brave Baby, The Ludlow Thieves, and Rubblebucket are all artists I listen to regularly because of the club nights as well as Jack Garratt, Christian Letts and a variety of other artists that Communion sponsors in pop-up shows around the city. This week’s kick-off proved to be a success, and amidst the dozen or so artists who played, two made a great first impression on my ears.
The Franklin Electric’s self-proclaimed “alternative folk-pop” style is truly something to see. The range of instruments that were played throughout the set shows how talented and unique this band is. Singer Jon Matte, mostly behind his piano, led the group through an ebb and flow of raucous stomping beats, to quiet, acoustic heartstring grabbers played amidst the audience. The Montreal based band had a group of followers there calling out names of songs and singing along wholeheartedly. “This is How I Let You Down” – also the title of their album, as well as the song, “Old Piano” are two favorites that show the range this band has.
The indie-pop band Freedom Fry from Los Angeles, has perhaps one of the most romantic stories behind the formation of a band. The story of the union of lead singer Marie Seyrat and Bruce Driscoll during an acting gig years prior, let the audience in on how deep the connections ran within the group. The beginning of 2015 saw the release of a few new singles by the duo including, “Shaky Ground (Hey Na, Na, Na)” and “21”, the first receiving accolades and the number one spot on The Hype Machine, and also slating the group as one of the top emerging artists at SXSW. The hand-clapping, up-tempo sound that Freedom Fry induces is infectious and had the audience dancing throughout the set. Driscoll even announced a “dance-off” a few songs in, and the band would be presenting the winner with their album Fan Club. This is definitely a rising band to keep an eye on and an ear out for.
During a night packed with ten artists across three stages, Communion provides a little something for everyone, yet it is difficult to get to every set. Some other standouts from the evening, (as per trusted friend recommendations), were some acoustic sets from Greg Holden and Jae Jin. If a Communion Residency happens to pass through your city this upcoming month grab some friends, some drinks, and get ready to hear some great new bands.
Check the communion website communionmusic.com, or follow Communion Music on facebook for the most up to date information on the residency and artists playing in your city. Find more info about the artists at thefranklinelectric.com and freedomfrymusic.com
Check out more photos from The Freedom Fry at Communion NYC.:
Check out more photos of The Franklin Electric at Communion NYC: