Friday, February 14, 2014

Show Review: Mutual Benefit with Al Riggs

Mutual Benefit at Local 506 on Feb. 4
For a Tuesday night, Local 506 was unusually packed. The night started out slowly with the quiet drones of Al Riggs. The band had no drummer, just Al and his guitarist. Two guitars, an acoustic and an electric, intertwined in a melodic fog that was accompanied by cutesy gestures like handclaps. The doodles on Al Rigg's guitars added a layer of quirkiness to his music that set an atmospheric mood of coziness already.

Next up, in the short lineup of the night, was the headliner Mutual Benefit. When I was just expecting a one-man band, six people walked out and began tuning their instruments, which included violins and two synths. The beginning of the first song started slow and calm and kept building with sound until it felt like something was about to break. And it did. Jordan Lee's humble and soft voice broke through all the sound and "Strong River," the opening track from Love's Crushing Diamond began.

Throughout the show,  Lee's onstage banter was quiet and awkward, with a twist of dark humor that kept everyone smiling. The six piece band did a remarkable job at maintaining a beautiful haze over the whole audience. All of the instrumentation ebbed and flowed in the most calm and airy way. I felt entranced by the delicate violin melodies winding themselves around the soft drums, glittery synths and slow guitars. And I honestly couldn't stop grinning the whole time.

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