New York Festival of Song (NYFOS) is not typically known for concerts involving rainbow colored colonial wigs, pink patent leather pumps, and animal masks, but its founders, Michael Barrett and Steven Blier took a walk on the wilder side last Wednesday night at the hip Brooklyn venue, National Sawdust.
The pair welcomed Sky-Pony, a self-described “Performance Art Rock Band” for an evening of catchy, yet well-crafted original rock tunes and macabre ballads. Led by theater and opera singer, Lauren Worsham, and her husband/Music Director, Kyle Jarrow, the group launched the packed audience to heaven with Rapture. The song is one of much needed hope, suggesting that “as bad as things may seem, there is a light in the window.” The band followed with Running Towards the Sun and the darkly comic Beautiful Monster (also the title song from their first-rate album.) Their next piece, Cabellito Lindo featured masterful guitarist, Kevin Wunderlich. Steal Tonight, a romantic ode to NYC was also on the set list, as was the operatic Action Movie, which gave Worsham a chance to display her gorgeous soprano range.
Doctor, usually performed as a straightforward jam, was treated to a new arrangement with a country flavor. The driving number, Nightmare, began to wind down the one hour concert but not before Worsham and Jarrow paid tribute to their 1 year old daughter, Oona, through a touching lullaby named for her.
The concert concluded with a song expressing the idea that no matter how bad life gets or what a mess we’ve made of our lives, Everyone Will Die. It’s a dark and droll ditty which ends every Sky-Pony concert (and one of my personal favorites).
Throughout the one hour concert, Worsham encouraged audience members to play “Sky-BINGO” in which players crossed off all of the songs the band had performed. Early in the evening, she amusingly apologized to Blier for having to witness her “rock” side. Typically, Worsham works with him on traditional theater and opera repertoire. Nonetheless, the versatility and clarity of her voice is nothing short of amazing, enhanced only by her phenomenal band and fellow vocalists, comprised of Jarrow, Wunderlich, David Blasher, Eric Day, Kristin Piancetile, Perry Silver, and Jessi Suzuki.
While NYFOS might retain its’ standing as a purveyor of American song, they have smartly expanded their umbrella with their NYFOS Next Program through innovative and edgy artists like Sky-Pony. Rock on!
For more information about New York Festival of Song and their programming, visit NYFOS .