Jonquil frontman Hugo Manuel is gearing up to make his full-length solo debut under the name Chad Valley, and the Oxford, UK, artist has taken to NYC in advance of Young Hunger’s release. After packing out Pianos, he brought his winsome vision of the ’80s to Brooklyn Bowl. With songs like “I Owe You This” and “Tell All Your Friends,” he proved his ability to hold his own alone onstage. Manuel closed his set with “My Girl,” an album highlight for those of us lucky enough to have already heard Young Hunger.
It’s been a while since we heard from Free Energy, but the Philadelphia-formed rockers are back and ready to impress again. Armed with a high-octane stage presence and a pot leaf-emblazoned flag, they were more than prepared to reassert their presence. The quintet previewed a track titled “Up All Night” from the band’s forthcoming follow-up to 2010’s Stuck On Nothing.
Born Ruffians are also getting ready to start buzzing again, as they prep their next LP following 2010’s Say It. The Canadian band was ever-charming with its lo-fi guitar pop. Closing their set with the one-two punch of “I Need A Life” and “Little Garçon,” Born Ruffians reminded us why we started liking them in the first place while leaving us looking for fresh material.
Icona Pop, aka Caroline Hjelt and Aino Jawo, headlined the showcase on their last night in New York before returning to their native Sweden. “We’ll be crying in our hearts,” Jawo said, safe in the knowledge that the duo’s had a good time in the U.S. Live, Icona Pop warps its compact dance-pop songs into bass-heavy, extended versions, showing a versatility to its sound. Though they were plagued by technical difficulties, they’re so much fun that their natural resilience kept them going. The obvious highlight was breakout hit “I Love It,” but tracks like “Manners” and “Ready For The Weekend” from the just-released Iconic EP also shone.