Twin Shadow Fitzgerald's September 15, 2011
Earlier this year, an eager Rocks Off showed up to Fitzgerald's early to catch scheduled Pains of Being Pure at Heart opener, Brooklyn-based New Wave revivalist Twin Shadow.
As luck would have it, a handwritten sign adorned Fitz's front door, regretfully informing us that Twin Shadow had canceled his performance that day, citing illness. Since then, we've patiently awaited our promised reschedule date.
Twin Shadow, the stage name of Dominican Republican-born George Lewis, Jr.--delivered on his promise Thursday night, communicating his intent to compensate for his spring absence before the show even began: "Houston, happy to make it up to you!!!" he tweeted before the show, even including a picture of himself backstage, hair-spraying his chic hair. (It was worth it. His sexy, asymmetrical bouffant-type 'do was perfect.)
Lewis took the stage (30 minutes tardy, but we'll call it "fashionably late") accompanied by a bassist, synth/keys player, and drummer, opening with "Shooting Holes at the Moon," a track from Twin Shadow's debut album, 2010's Forget, aptly produced by Grizzly Bear's Chris Taylor.
Forget's synth-heavy track list transferred well to a live set; intricate bass-lines and Lewis' endowed guitar-playing flourished moreso live.
The set list outlined Twin Shadow's temperamental songwriting; some songs were infectiously danceable ("At My Heels," "When We're Dancing"), while others were languid and hauntingly heavy ("Tyrant Destroyed").
"Let's talk, Houston," Lewis remarked to the crowd. "I'm sorry we missed you last time, but I'm going do my best to make it up to you tonight," he continued, as the crowd applauded in approval.
With each address, Lewis proved himself a charming and understatedly charismatic frontman; equally impressive was his ability to successfully step outside the confines of an exclusive synth-pop-type classification, as he is emotive in his delivery and brings a varied blend of atmospheric '80s guitar tones and crunchy '90s solos to an otherwise synth-laden table.
While the set list was expectedly Forget-heavy, Lewis also incorporated brand-new Bagarre cover "Changes" into the mix. Forget standout "Slow" was the clear highpoint of the set, Lewis altering the song's intro into a dark, dawdling crawl, before fully launching into the virtually perfect track.
Lewis repeatedly thanked the crowd before exiting with the band, only to give-in to their encore-beseeching crowd a moment later, ultimately closing the set with "Tether Beat."
Twin Shadow promised he'd make up for skipping-out on us in April; clearly, he's a man of his word.
Personal Bias: Overall, Twin Shadow = worth the five-month wait.
The Crowd: Well-mannered twenty- and thirtysomething hip Houstonians, and dudes galore. And, I suspect, a large handful of girls with a new front man crush by show's end.
Overheard in the Crowd: I'm pretty sure some guy was barking sporadically throughout the show.
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Random Notebook Dump: Between Diamond Rings' eye make-up application skill and Lewis' affinity for hairspray, I imagine that's one fun tour bus.