Brick+Mortar @ BAR- New Haven, 1/29/14

Heavy sampling, audience involvement, and variations of pop punk were what last Wednesday was all about when Brick+Mortar and Dance, Charlatan! played the weekly free show at BAR in New Haven.

Dance, Charlatan! fuses sounds of garage rock and indie punk to generate a “band next door” appeal. The Wallingford, CT natives would go from a track like “Held at Bay”, with a less forceful pop basis, to great drawn out bass grooves, to inconsistent sparks of post-punk vocal groans. All of these elements were instrumental in showing the range of the band, and the freedom that Kyle Hurley, Mark Almodovar, and Peter J. Brail will have in crafting new music. That same range made the live flow a bit choppy at times. We will get a fuller taste of Dance, Charlatan! later this year when they release their Bouquet EP.

Based in Asbury Park, NJ, Brick+Mortar relies mostly on electronic samples, channeled through bass guitar. The two-piece use pace changes and layered electronics to create inescapably catchy melodies. They ran through the entirety of their Bangs EP with gusto. From “Heatstroke” to “Bangs”, the electronic power of the duo was on display in full force.

Vocalist and bass guitarist, Brandon Asraf, seemingly represented the brick in Brick+Mortar’s simple equation. He was the glue that held things together. His overall friendliness and desire to maintain audience involvement, even in such a small venue, kept everyone engaged throughout their set. It may come across gimmicky to some, but no one was put off by it at all. He shredded through a wide array of electronic samples on his bass, and things culminated with him banging on his strings with a drumstick. The mortar was provided by John Tacon on drums. He rained down fiery beats to back up Asraf’s cycle of samples and provided some heat with his backing vocals.

Each of these bands will have new material on the way 2014. Keep a look out for the Bouquet EP and a potential full length LP from Brick+Mortar.

Dance, Charlatan!