Last Friday night, L.A.’s eight-piece purveyors of neon-soaked melodrama, Jail Weddings, played the first of two NYC-area shows, in the midst of a three-week cross-country tour. Weep if you miss them because, while they’ve been building quite the following in California over the last five years and four full-lengths, frequent lineup switcheroos and the labor of getting an eight-member band around the country make Jail Weddings tours as rare as a bad Louis CK joke.
“The dapper garage band of a dingy dinner theater in the gentrifying part of town deciding between producing a Horace McCoy or Gun Club musical” is one way to get at their majestic angst. A severely solid drummer (Dave Clifford) and Hannah Blumenfeld’s mournful violin are always lurking behind leader Gabriel Hart’s lounge blizzard energy and the flirtatious tête-à-tête with his sinisterly harmonic back-up singing duo. Culling their setlist mostly from last year’s excellent album, Meltdown: A Declaration Of Unpopular Emotion (Neurotic Yell Records), they brought out the kind of tipsy, amorous proclivities that no doubt led many in the crowd to receive face slaps or face-plants hours after the show. Jail Weddings’ swooping emotions and dramatic musicianship had no problem creeping through the low ceiling basement confines of the Cake Shop (red photos).
And Saturday’s show (blue photos) at Baby’s All Right in Brooklyn— while saddled with a ridiculously early set time—dished up enough drama to last through the longest night of the year. Seriously, Jail Weddings are one of the most intriguing and underrated bands of the teens. An upcoming European tour in the fall and more recordings are in the works.
Photos by Keith Marlowe.