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As many of New York City’s music lovers were on Randall’s Island yesterday, enjoying the last day of Governor’s Ball, Brooklyn took the opportunity to host some great intimate hidden-gem type shows across the borough. In particular, it was Spike Hill that took the cake with a great free Sunday of music to help Brooklynites deal with the work week ahead. The show featured top-notch sets from the jazzy instrumentalists of Carbon Mirage and the R&B stylings of Maddy Ruff, but the show’s star was Joni Fatora.
Joni is a Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter who already has two Webster Hall appearances, a Brooklyn Bowl show and an EP release under her belt since moving to New York less than a year ago. Yesterday in Brooklyn she embraced the opportunity to play a bit of a smaller stage, interacting with the crowd effortlessly and clearly having a ton of fun as she played tunes from last summer’s Blue Road EP and new tracks.
Of the new tracks, Emily’s Song is certainly one to watch. Fatora and her five piece band create a sound that simultaneously hints at the National and Coldplay while still evoking the signature style she established on her first EP. Other highlights of the set included stellar renditions of her two biggest singles to date, Monsters and We’ll Buy A House. Monsters certainly has the most hit potential of any Fatora track, and may be the strongest vocally as well. On We’ll Buy A House, Fatora captures her indie-folk-pop sound with ease, and delivers it just as effectively live as on the record.
The biggest surprise of the set was a cover of Rilo Kiley’s Silver Lining. Joni let the audience know that the song was in honor of her having seen her idol, Kiley’s frontwoman Jenny Lewis, live at Governor’s Ball two days prior. Her band sat the track out as Joni offered a captivating, all-acoustic cover of the tune. Spike Hill on a Sunday may not have quite the same big-room vibe as Brooklyn Bowl or Webster Hall, but Fatora’s fans still came out to fill up the venue, and Fatora responded with her A-game. If this intimate show was any indication, all signs point to Joni’s big year on the Brooklyn singer-songwriter scene turning into even bigger things for the 22-year-old on her next EP and beyond.
Photos by Max Lefkowitz.