Music Hall of Williamsburg
Saturday, August 20
Better than: Getting stuck on the subway all fucking night because MTA forgot to put signs up to say that the G wasn’t running.
Much better than that, actually: I didn’t get off the damn train till 10:20, missing the first couple of songs. “Pieces of the People We Loved” was starting up when I got to the window, and they’d just begun “Never Die Again,” from the forthcoming In the Grace of Your Love, when I got into the Hall of Music. It didn’t take very long for my mood to lift: the Rapture were in seriously good form all night.
I hadn’t played 2006’s Pieces of the People We Love since I reviewed it, but the new bassist’s huge sound and Gabriel Andruzzi’s rippling percussion on “Get Myself Into It” and “Whoo! Alright—Yeah… Uh Huh,” respectively, sounded definitive. (Gratifying, too—it was a positive review.) “Whoo!” had the room jumping, and it glided into “House of Jealous Lovers” with rising-tide force. (The room really vibrated for that one.) The band engineered a similarly DJ-perfect segue (albeit abetted by drum machine, though Vito Roccoforte’s drumming was especially amped tonight) from the synth-bass-pulsing “Olio” into the haunted Spanish-flavored dub-house of “Come Back to Me,” one of the night’s many highlights from Grace.
“Sorry for the long delay between records,” frontman Luke Jenner said after “Come Back,” before finishing the main set with “How Deep Is Your Love?” “A lot has happened.” He’s not kidding. Five years ago, after leaving DFA acrimoniously for Motown, Jenner’s mother died, not long after he had his first child. In 2008, Jenner briefly quit the band; then bassist-songwriter Mattie Safer left for good. A year later, Jenner converted to Catholicism.
That newfound faith is all over the new album, quite explicitly, but Saturday night’s show seemed like a church for all comers. The encore underlined it. Jenner introduced it by saying, “On Wednesday, my wife and I will be married ten years.” His voice cracked a hair when he dedicated “Sail Away,” Grace‘s opener, to her. Then the last song of the night, Grace‘s closer, “It Takes Time to Be a Man,” reached its conclusion, and I realized—for the first time, after playing the album with increasing pleasure over the past two months—that what Jenner sings on the coda is “Hallelujah.”
Critical bias: I recently interviewed Jenner, Roccoforte, and Andruzzi for (spoiler alert!) a Voice feature, and they’re all really nice.
Overheard: My colleague Andy Battaglia correctly pegging “It Takes Time to Be a Man” as a Todd Rundgren hat-tip. I was immediately mad at myself for not noticing, because it is totally obvious.
Random notebook dump: [Various MTA-related complaints.]