by Keaton Comiskey
Friday’s Stood show began in Whitson’s like they always do: a crowded room ready for a night of live music. Najj, the Queens-based rapper and poet opened the show along with their MC, doing a great job of getting the crowd excited for the night. A highlight of the set included Najj materializing a piece of paper to showcase a great new verse—one that had been written that same day.
The second act of the night was Anaya Brannon, who seemed to be drawing a large portion of the crowd all on her own. The attention was well earned, as Brannon came prepared to deliver a show. Complete with a wireless microphone and two backup dancers, Brannon took the stage like a genuine pop star, with genuine talent to back it up. Brannon’s fun tracks mixed together pop, hip hop, R&B and soul as she projected perfect vocals, keeping up with the dance-heavy stage show. For one song, the backup dancers were swapped out for Purchase jazz guitarist Alex Frondelli, who joined Brannon on stage for a quiet moment. The sweet moment of the guitar solo really highlighted both Brannon’s vocal and lyrical abilities. After that tune, her backup dancers joined her again and Brannon finished the set on a high.
The room then started to thin out, but the same couldn’t be said for the talent. The only band of the night, Brooklyn-based five-piece Bathe, took the stage following Brannon’s set. Made up of drums, bass, guitar, keys and vocals, the band brought a vibe to Whitson’s that was different, but welcome. Bathe was a groovy experience. They blended a tight and funky rhythm section with spacey guitar riffs and church-like organ sounds from the keyboard. Their vocalist, notably not wearing any shoes, brought with him an effects pedal to manipulate his voice in different ways as he progressed through the set. Through it his voice was great, as he switched from airy falsetto parts to more raw bluesy belting moments. One of my favorite parts of the set was a stripped down song featuring just the guitarist and front man, which really showed off his vocal ability with a haunting melody.
By the end of the night, the final act, Sole Ivy, took the stage. The Philly-based rapper sat and told the audience, “I’m gonna do one song, and then we’ll vibe.” The song she chose was a chill tune called “Rooftops.” After that the guitarist, front man, and drummer from Bathe joined her. After a few minutes of banter, the audience could gather that these two were old friends. The guitarist joked that everyone was on “the outside of an inside joke.” The makeshift group played through songs from an unnamed previous project they were in together. Bathe’s front man was sitting on the floor and the drummer was simply hitting his snare with a mallet. A few lucky outsiders trickled in to catch the end of the show and Whitson’s finished off the night with an intimate and unplugged vibe.