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After two months of touring the continental U.S., Brooklyn-based art-punk group Ava Luna returned to their old stomping grounds to commemorate the release of their new sophomore album, Electric Balloon, on Western Vinyl. Bushwick’s art gallery/music venue, Silent Barn, hosted the album release party, adding locals Railings, Ashcan Orchestra, Jerry Paper and Ava Luna’s tourmates Krill.
This show marked a momentary pause in Ava Luna’s tour, which will resume over in Europe in the coming weeks. All the recent activity didn’t mean the band was tired, as evidenced by the frenetic, daft-eyed intensity throughout their set. There were certainly moments when that energy shone through most, usually when vocalists Carlos Hernandez, Becca Kaufman and Felicia Douglass were liberated from their mics, giving themselves more room to let loose. Elements of their more clamorous musical tendencies were suppressed, but it made for a tighter, more succinct performance.
The three vocalists took turns in the spotlight, keyboardist Douglass taking over as the salacious, melancholy lead on PRPL. Hernandez was enthusiastically awkward on Electric Balloon opener Daydream. Alternately howling and speak-talking lines like, “I’ve never been/so put off/in all my life,” revealed the function of his delirious No Wave sensibility. Even when she wasn’t squawk-crooning at the audience, it was difficult to divert your eyes from Becca Kaufman and her wildly agitated but graceful movements. For the first time, during thrashy soul-punk number Sears Roebuck M&Ms, Kaufman unhinged from her electric guitar to go off with ebullient, discordantly spirited vocals. Ava Luna played one encore, a tune from one of their previous albums. But before the last notes could ring out with a satisfying finality, Hernandez leapt from the stage, joining the crowd to watch.
Photos by Angel Eugenio Fraden.