Blue & Gold at the Mercury Lounge
Back in a time not so long ago, before Taylor Swift was “ambassador” of the city and DJs dominated the nightlife scene, rock music ruled NYC. The turbulent sonic landscape of punk and hard rock that defined lower Manhattan in the 70s and 80s – and the cultural impact of that legacy – still inspire modern keepers of the flame today. On 10th January, Brooklyn rock band Blue & Gold did their best to stake a claim to that heritage during their set at the Mercury Lounge on Houston Street, where they delivered their style of ballsy, guitar-driven rock in celebration of their new album, In My Head.
The band’s bio describes their music as sweaty, loud and raucous, with high-octane energy. Their live show lives up to some of this promise. Alex Kapelman (vocals/guitar), Chloe Raynes (vocals/guitar), Derek Cabrera (bass) and GG Gonzalez (drums) are all highly capable players who dig in earnestly and without pretense, but it’s the women who made the biggest impression last night – for all the right reasons. Raynes suggests shades of Liz Phair in her stage presence, clear, resonant vocals and raw guitar playing. GG Gonzalez is a standout performer; she begs comparisons to Meg White on first glance, but has hard-hitting chops and charisma more in line with Dave Grohl. Kapelman trades off lead singer/guitar duties with Raynes. There’s a subtle gravitas in his vocals on the album that didn’t translate to the stage. When present, it lends grit to the driving riffs that serve as the backbone of their style.
The front half of Blue & Gold’s roughly one-hour setlist relied purely on mid-tempo tunes that got heads nodding. The band reserved their singles Tommy Gun and In My Head for the back end, and while the audience was more engaged by the encore Anything for Love, the atmosphere never quite reached the thrilling peaks one anticipates from a rock show.
This band has the potential to champion a NYC rock renaissance. Pushing themselves to go harder toward a “take no prisoners” approach would provide the kind of razor-sharp edge that leaves an indelible impression – and a breathless audience.
Photos: Ken Arcara
For further information about Blue & Gold and future events visit here.
Listen to the album In My Head here: