Brooklyn’s Ex-Cops was slightly more earnest than your average Biggest Borough Band, as the guitarist and singer padded around and careened into his microphone, looking pleased with/focused on what he was hearing. His vocal accompanist, the only lady in the band, took a sedated approach to her tambourine tapping and breathily exhaled her parts. From pre-performance cues taken exclusively via her cute gothic babydoll dress, we assumed Ex-Cops might venture perhaps into Austra territory during its set as part of the SESAC showcase. However what the group offered was more honey-colored and pleasant than that.

Headless Horseman is a band that, whether strategically or otherwise, has mastered onstage banter as a vehicle for audience endearment. “This is Shayna’s first time playing with us,” said singer Fareed Sajan. (Shayna was barefooted and playing glockenspiel.) “We’ve been best friends since high school.” The three members stood profile to the crowd and faced each other, experimenting with sounds created from a set up that deviated away from the standard guitar-drum-bass thing. Conner O’Neill had what looked like a toy guitar (there is probably a more technical name for it than that—we apologize in advance to all guitar nerds) strapped to his back, and stood on the other side of a DIY percussion rig that Sajan was haphazardly yet skillfully employing. The song ended and Shayna slipped back into the audience, still with no shoes on, happy to observe the duo dabble with songs that didn’t seem particularly concerned with structure. They were all the better for it.

Photos by Adam DeAngelis and Jeff Meininger.
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