Still Woozy nails the dance moves, but needs more music.  

1/22/19 – The Sinclair

On a Tuesday night at The Sinclair, a sold-out crowd trickled in to see Jonathan Something, a three-person band, play the opening set before the night’s headliner, Still Woozy, would take the stage. Added to the bill the day of the concert, the Jonathan Something played to a talkative group of onlookers, many of whom seemed to not be aware of the group. Jonathan Something indeed.

Keeping stage banter to an awkward minimum, Jonathan Something sounded garage rock at times, and at others, entered Americana territory, edging on bluesy, distorted dad rock. Frontman Jon Searles sang in raspy voice not unlike Benjamin Booker.

The highlight of the set came when Jonathan Something played their first single, “Outlandish Poetica,” prefacing it with “It features Larry Bird and he’s trying to steal my money.” The Boston-area crowd cheered.

But despite the nonchalant stage presence, Jonathan Something clearly has a ways to go to polish their set. Between songs, a loop pedal wouldn’t turn off. Between another set of songs, Searles slowly tuned his guitar on stage. And at one point, he asked his bassist how the next song began. After a long 30 minutes, the their set drew to a close.

By the time Still Woozy took the stage, the venue was packed. “Tiny,” the bassist/synth player, came dancing into view first—a Ms. Frizzle look-alike with curly orange hair and blue jean overalls. The drummer, “Petey,” plopped onto his drum seat and began to delicately play an intricate rhythm.

And then Sven Gamsky, lead singer and frontman, grabbed his guitar and played the opening chords of Lucy” the group’s most popular tune (the only one the crowd knew some of the words to). Stepping into the spotlight, Gamsky’s mustache, tight black pants, and an oversized green T-shirt were illuminated. He began to dance along with the beat, moves so wispy he might as well have been playing dodgeball with ghosts.

It wasn’t long before Gamsky pushed the crowd participation button, in the form of throwing bagels to outstretched fingers. “Who likes bagels?” he asked, pulling three oblong Montreal bagels from a paper bag, one by one lobbing them into the crowd. The group had just played a show across the border and came bearing treats.

Three throws, three misses.

Still Woozy’s sound was pristine, much like their recorded material—groovy, with splashes of atmospheric synth sounds, balanced, bass line driven indie electronic songs, and sprinkled with tasty, muted, electric guitar plucks. At times, the set featured pre-programmed audio: synth pads and backing vocals to support the three musicians on stage—not an usual element for a new band that’s lacking manpower, but one that highlights the need for more band members in the future to play these elements live, or different arrangements of the songs so as not to rely as much on pre-programmed sounds.

One of the most unexpected moments of the set came when Gamsky and co. played “Angel of Death,” a Hank Williams cover. Gamsky stepped down into the crowd as he sang the slow, country ballad, the Sinclair stage hand balancing on the edge of the stage, feeding the mic cable to him as he wandered further and further into the audience. Not to be boxed in as a band that covers country songs, Still Woozy played an original punk tune next with a singalong component (“What the fuck you gonna do?”). After the song came to a halt, Gamsky joked, “You guys are great tenors.”

Performing just a few more songs, including a Mac Demarco cover, “Still Beating,” Still Woozy’s set was unexpectedly short—just 45 minutes for a headlining slot at The Sinclair.

The crowd wanted more, and they got it. But just one song—the same one Still Woozy opened with. “We don’t have anymore songs, but we can play one we already played.”

Still, the crowd appreciated the honesty, and danced along with “Lucy” one more time.

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