On The List :: Little Joy @ Bowery Ballroom [6.23.09]
Something was different at the Bowery Ballroom for the Little Joy set. A member of The Strokes leaned in to the bouncer near the right of the stage and said, "It's the 2000 crew again." It was a bit of nostalgia. He was certainly referring to when his band stormed through the New York club scene at the turn of the millennium and, allegedly, saved rock and roll in the city. Whatever actually happened, it earned something approaching reverence. Which is exactly the word that loosely connected to Little Joy, a band devised by Strokes' drummer Fabrizio Morretti. Now, Little Joy weren't trying to save anything. They were just trying to finish their tour before going to Mexico.
Sonically, the heat of Latin America wasn't a bad starting place. The band was fronted by Rodrigo Amarante, a Brazilian, and Bikini Shapiro, a stone fox. Amarante opened the show alone but was quickly joined by the whole of Little Joy, including horns courtesy of The Teenage Prayers. The night oscillated between eruptive and quiet. Just like the record, it had its quiet moments and it had its movers. During "No One's Better Sake" and "Keep Me In Mind" the crowd shifted to the beat of something both tropical and gritty. Shapiro was chatty in a suggestively thin dress, while Amarante was an undemanding stage director.
Moretti would make only a cursory appearance in the set's last song, "Brand New Start." As an addition to the New York-downtown-Illuminati, Regina Spektor lilted on stage to add her vocals to the closer. It was raucous and it was a perfect conclusion. For a night steeped in the past, the show looked forward - with celebrity additions and rock history in perfect balance. It was, spectacularly, a little different.