The moon was well overhead by the time I entered Baby’s All Right for The Soft Moon’s post-midnight performance. Despite the late hour, I would bide my time even further covetously guarding a front and center spot as the venue swelled to bursting in anticipation for the third and final show of The Soft Moon’s visit to NYC (Saint Vitus & Market Hotel were stops earlier in the week). As a person heavily motivated by the visual, my proximity to Luis Vasquez, of Oakland, CA, who is The Soft Moon for this performance left me transfixed, and later transformed. Getting to Baby’s early is paramount during clutch bookings like these.
So if you don’t know The Soft Moon (must have missed “Desertion” in Beet Box last year), the Captured Tracks-signed project focuses on a dark, gothic sound. For an idea on its current direction, check out the continuous music videos “Far” & “Wasting“, from last year’s Deeper. Vasquez who does a little bit of everything on stage, is buttressed by uptempo drums and bass (Matteo Vallicelli & Luigi Pianezzola, respectively) flanking him on stage. I talk a lot about how session musicians add a lot to productions that are heavily sourced in electronica, and The Soft Moon is a paragon of that belief. I couldn’t imagine the impact I felt being close to the same sans that extra instrumentation.
There is constant activity in a [The] Soft Moon set. Besides the aforementioned instrumental intensity, Vasquez is a blur. Vaulting back and forth with his guitar to come in for yelps and cries, he reminds of the swagger of ’80s heroes like Billy Idol. Sometimes I was inches away from the trajectory of his guitar neck, adding a small element of danger while attempting to photograph him in the shrouded confines of Baby’s. A highlight towards the conclusion of the set was his use of a busted up trash can as a raw form of percussion. Being this close to all that action is vividly burned in my mind, and the days after have been dominated by a quest to understand The Soft Moon more through its media.
The Soft Moon is concluding today (in North Carolina) a national tour that was marred by a robbery in San Francisco. Crowdfunding has mostly recouped the losses for Vasquez. Their tour now continues abroad in Europe.
New York duo, YVETTE, scored the opening slot. With obvious sonic similarities to The Soft Moon, they were a smart pairing. I would describe their energy as jagged, constantly flying between high and low, sometimes unpredictably so. Overall, they were interesting to watch and their ferocity was always at one hundred percent.
The Soft Moon