On old souls, churches and lovesick, girly feelings

It turns out that The Refuge, a church-owned music venue, is not at all that churchy; in fact, it’s more like a laid-back lounge with comfy seating and candles everywhere. Which is good, because Parie Wood, Ricky Berger, Not An Airplane and Honyock were the lineup for the evening, and I was pretty sure they’d sing whatever the hell they wanted, regardless of the venue.

Full disclosure: Parie Wood is my classmate at The Met, so a bad review would make for a really awkward rest of the year. Luckily for me, she performed a powerful set of music.

Wood opened her set with “People,” which was upbeat and folky with messages reminiscent of Harvey Milk and Cesar Chavez and the sonic resonance of Bob Dylan (one of Wood’s favorite musicians). With songs covering heartbreak, politics and family, it became clear that Wood, who is set to release an EP in March, is a young musician with an old soul.

She wasn’t spouting danceable pop music and could’ve used more charisma, but in Wood’s words, “These songs are a stream of my own consciousness.”

After Wood, Not An Airplane started its set with so many different sounds, I wasn’t sure what to think. The sounds of guitar, bass, drums, banjo and stand-up bass created a cacophony of noise.

Song through song, the band ran through folk-roots ballads as vocalist Nick Shattell filled the room with powerful, nasally lyrics. At first, I thought his voice might harp on my nerves, but the dynamic tone managed to pull every instrumental together for a seriously catchy, toe-tapping sound.

Also, many songs delved into personal experience and even toed the line of poking fun at religion. In a church. So, really, how could you go wrong?

Ricky Berger followed; this is a singer who can be described as perpetually nice. Everything about her gives off a very pleasant vibe. And, for better or for worse, her smooth, ethereal voice really makes you feel some lovesick, girly feelings. What made her performance all the better was when she noted the creepy, Misery-esque aspect of her song, “Stay With Me,” which she suggested makes her feel like (lovingly) breaking someone’s legs.

Besides her charm, Berger played a stunning amount of instruments, including ukulele, guitar, piano, flute and glockenspiel. At the end of her set, Berger’s friend and fellow musician Adrian Bourgeois joined her onstage for a few songs.

Closing the evening, Honyock, sucked the crowd in with the loudest performance of the night, harnessing tight harmonization and, even, some dance moves.

The band’s guitarist/vocalist Spencer Hoffman calls the band’s genre “folkadelic psychwave”—a quirky sounding genre that suits this group of carefree musicians; on this night their songs filled the Refuge with stylistically distorted, yet well-placed instrumentals.

The band expects to be in a place to start the recording process in the near future, but until then, you can always hit up Facebook for upcoming gigs and a couple demos. Amen.