Bianca Muñiz, Rvby My Dear, Light Brand, Sara Banleigh | Live From Terra Firma
Friday night, its lead-stained letters great you upon arriving on Ingraham St in Bushwick, Terra Firma a restaurant that acts like a hybrid bar and venue (with the emphasis on hybrid) as there’s no stage, allowing the artists to perform in the corner exposed to the audience. At first glance I wondered, how this will work? (it reminded me of the smaller make it work LES bars back in the day) and that it did!
Sara Banleigh took to the stage after I ate two damn good shrimp tacos, I asked the bartender for another glass of wine and tuned into her set.
Folk singer/songwriter Sara Banleigh‘s deeply layered musical influences inspired images of Scotland, Ireland, and England, while imbued with the spirit of the American Folk Song. At some point Sara was even playing a Bob Dylan cover, ending with a crowd lead clap beat over an a Capella Irish tune.
Rvby My Dear took the stage next, (also bringing on every keyboard from Maindrag with them!) the band, usually anywhere between a 5-6 piece, did overtime on multi-instruments as a two-piece, playing a stripped down version of their set. With a layering of synth-pads, a focus on their melodic side, creative use of arpeggiations, on top of Gabbi Coenen playing bass as well, it hardly felt like an “acoustic” session by any means. Without a focus on the rhythm section however, the palpably ghosty side of their music came to the forefront. The band played songs off their last EP Unravel as well as unveiling new material for their upcoming EP recently recorded in Los Angeles during a creepy crawly October trip around Halloween.
While Terra Firma packed in more people than you thought it could, Gabbi Coenen and composer Rob Karpay and I tried to figure out if Art Garfunkle was sitting at the bar. We Googled a photo and held it side by side, ordered more wine, and settled in disbelief: it wasn’t Art Garfunkle after all. And besides, Light Brand took to the stage by now, joined on drums by Bianca Muñiz’s drummer Michael Hojnacki, (a freelance drummer of the versatile Jazz variety.)
The band’s sound changed up the energy, harkening back to classic rock elements via Zepplin and even The Beatles playing progressive rock supporting the rich soprano vocals of Patricia Wichmann
The band cleared the stage to make way for headliner Bianca Muñiz, who in a moment of technical difficulties involving the delivery of a keyboard did what good performers do, and improvised playing a beautiful song with just the accompaniment of a guitar called “Love Me.” The song is featured in a short video clip I managed to grab of it.
With the arrival of a keyboard and a packed out crowd, the band played a lengthy set and even an encore to a boozy midnight audience that were in good spirits. Bianca Muñiz’s vocals hit high falsetto’s and were emotionally charged, the band seamed together elements of r&b and textural pop, with the occasional heart stirring balladry. Overall the band had the spark that many new acts do as they formulate, it’s a mix of sheer talent, excitement, all on the path towards becoming well gelled and more defined, with so much room for magic, whether the poetic-streak of the diary-esque lyrics, raw emotion from Muñiz, jazz-quality musicians, backing an instantly bondable and definable vocal, they can do little wrong.