A crowd of head-boppers packed into Mom’s in New Paltz on Friday, Jan. 27 for the music venue’s first show of the semester.
The intimate space put local musicians and touring bands alike in close quarters with music enthusiasts. Fraternal Twin and flower housewife of New Paltz, Nobody’s Babe of Oneonta and Coping Skills of Philadelphia each played a set. Christmas lights dangled from the low ceiling, giving the dimly lit, hazy basement a softer, more comfortable feel. In a similar fashion, the musicians adorned their raw, dark emotion with sunny, upbeat jams.
Flower housewife, also known as June Amelia, kicked off the show at around 9:30 p.m. High-pitched and delicate, her amplified acoustic guitar rang pretty tunes, while she sang of the more frustrating things in life on songs like “hampton pizzeria.” She also stripped off her guitar for an a capella song, a powerful moment in which she acknowledged Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Nobody’s Babe took the floor next, another one-woman show who captivated the room with a dynamic performance. From screams to whispers and strums to plucks, Rachael Soluri didn’t hold back. The fast-paced rhythms and bright melodies felt hopeful, like in “Billy Joel,” and the darker, personal moments felt real, like during her performance of “Judas,” which she wrote for a student at her former high school who took his own life.
During the energetic set, Soluri opened up about her songs.
“This last record focused on my trip to the mental hospital, my anxiety and a few songs about how I don’t want to take medication because it just sucks,” she said.
Soluri said the band, which she describes as “folk-punk,” started in 2015. Since then, she’s gone on week-long tours that led her as far as Baltimore. On tour, she’s connected with people dealing with similar issues that she sings about. She’s played at other venues in New Paltz, but this was her first time at Mom’s.
“It’s really intimate,” she said. “I like being able to look at people and for them to look at me back.”
Coping Skills members Rachel Dispenza and Lauren DeLucca shared the same sentiment during their very first visit to New Paltz.
“It’s one of the best ways to put yourself in front of new audiences and to meet new people,” Dispenza said.
The trio, including drummer Sam Becht, filled the room with a loud, pop-punk sound which they call “bummer-pop.” The band, who has been touring for about two years and traveled as far as St. Louis, say they “write songs about things that are not fun but make them fun.” Their well-known tune “4 Days With Me Will Change Your Life (Cool Girl)” had the crowd at Mom’s swaying along to the catchy chorus.
Local band Fraternal Twin closed the night out with a more mellow performance. Playing past midnight, their set mingled repetitious guitar with full, winding bass and drums. The display of subtle, vibey rock at the evening’s end served as a righteous calm after a storm of emotion.