Brooklyn chillwave groups Small Black and Heavenly Beat filled the Music Hall of Williamsburg with synth and pop Sunday night to a nearly sold-out crowd. Although Monday morning loomed, the impending work week didn’t stop the bands or the fans from getting down like it was a Friday.
John Peña who also plays with Beach Fossils has been writing and releasing solo material as Heavenly Beat since 2009, but he made his live debut with a full band last year. Heavenly Beat is now a trio, with Peña on vocals and guitar, a bass player and an additional guitarist. The group played thrashing melodies while Peña dropped synth beats that kept the audience dancing.
Small Black kept the synths flowing as they opened up their set. Playing in front of a large, cubic projection screen, vocalist Josh Kolenik stood alongside fellow band member Ryan Heyner on their double-synth stations with Juan Pieczanski on guitar/bass and Jeff Curtin on drums. Small Black recently released their second album Limits Of Desire via Jagjaguwar, the follow-up to their 2010 debut New Chain. The record shows the band moving towards a more intricate and comprehensive sound. The complexity of Small Black’s electronic layering is noticeable in the live setting and makes it fairly easy to distinguish older songs from the newer material. The group played a balanced set, featuring songs off Limits Of Desire and New Chain that made both old and new fans happy. All that, combined with Kolenik’s animated stage performance, was enough to make audience members forget they had work the next morning and lose themselves in the synth.