I attended San Cisco and MOTHXR’s highly anticipated set at the Bowery Ballroom a week back, and never have I seen such excitement from a Bowery crowd when the doors opened. Whether it be the presence of Penn Badgley lead singer of MOTHXR and former Gossip Girl, or the excitement of seeing Scarlett Stevens, the young and widely loved drummer of San Cisco, there was a lot of energy in the room. A wave of teen girls nearly knocked me down on my way up the stairs, seeing the stampede of people my age equally as determined to get a front spot was both thrilling and frightening all at once. Once inside I fought for my usual spot stage right and I watched the bubbling excitement from the young crowd. I saw girls with their phone lock screens set to the set list for the show so they could discuss the upcoming acts excitedly with their friends. Others were exchanging stories and videos from previous concerts with friends and strangers. I love the environment created from these intimate shows were everyone shares their experiences and connects through music.
Minutes before, the opener, MOTHXR took the stage, the bright lights lowered to a deep, seductive red and James Blake’s sultry track, “Overgrown” flooded the venue. This combined with the growing roar of murmurs from the crowd created a desperate anticipation, and then a warm welcome for MOTHXR. Unfortunately they had some technical difficulties at the very start of their set which seemed to cause them a bit of anxiety, but the overwhelmingly positive response from the young crowd helped uplift the energy of the set. The Bowery is an especially fun venue because of their signature disco ball hanging from the ceiling. With 7 tiles missing, the disco ball is both quirky and the key focus that I like to include when shooting this venue.
MOTHXR’s lighting was very purple and blue focused and there wasn’t much use of the disco ball in use but when San Cisco came on the stage with golden lighting to match their sunny tunes the disco ball was brought more into use. The band played a fun, strong set. Drummer Scarlett Stevens joined frontman Jordi James for a duet of “Super Slow”. This song is one of my favorites and it was great to see Scarlett at the front of the stage with Jordi for this track. Halfway through the performance beach balls surfaced in the crowd and were kicked onstage. Several times Jordi was hit in the face in themiddle of a verse, “Guy can’t sing with his eyes closed without getting a beach ball to the head”. The set was playful, fun, and overall well played. The crowd was really responsive and seemed to know all the words to every song. San Cisco’s sound is perfect for a summer night in July, and everyone seemed to fully absorb themselves in the positivity of the crowd and forget their worries for a few hours. Definitely check out San Cisco and MOTHXR if you haven’t heard them, and catch their shows when they go back on tour!
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Photos by Emma Donahue | @emmadonahue98