I go to the Acadia way too often, and it's not because of my band's monthly showcase; I always seem to meander there whenever I'm remotely near the West Bank. Last Friday I found myself at the Acadia once again. I figured I'd start a tab, find a place to set up shop, and... CAKE!
I immediately honed in on a cake prominently displayed on the front table. This wasn't your ordinary cake. It was a gigantic sheet cake surrounded by various neon colored candies and decorated with an image of Sarah Winters with her band as the icing. How do those pastry wizards do that any way?
But before there could be cake, there was opener Hotel San Sebastian. If comparisons are a must, imagine a Fleet Foxes meets Radiohead scenario. The band effectively killed it. The vocal harmonies were spot on, the songs were inventive, and their live presence even coaxed a few "woos" from the crowd during the slow jams (although it's safe to say a few pints were behind some of those audience interjections).
When the spirited Hotel set came to a close, it was time for Miss Winters to take the stage. She approached the mic and announced that the show would begin by cutting the cake. BEST. SHOW OPENER. EVER. I braved the ravenous cake line and ended up standing next to Foster from Hotel San Sebastian. His piece of cake had the drummer's face on it, which was pretty humorous on its own, and then I noticed the percussionist was wearing the same shirt on stage as he was on the cake. I devoured the cellist's hand and settled in for the first number.
Winters and company kicked off "Laid Down In Thoughts Of You" by guiding the crowd in some rhythmic hand claps. The piano line nonchalantly entered the picture as the crowd continued to clap away. Song after song, her chord progressions would float over thunderous drum beats and angelic cello lines. Right around the fifth song I noticed the group was playing the tunes in the order of their appearance on the album. I'm normally quicker on the draw, but by that point I had amassed a pretty impressive bar tab.
There is something about Sarah Winters' voice that I can't put my finger on. It's distinctly haunting, and I'm not sure it ever leaves you. I ended the night by throwing my copy of Smallest Bones into my Macbook. I still can't get "Spoken" out of my head.
Smallest Bones is out now. For more information go to http://swinters.tumblr.com.