On Friday, Julie Byrne released Not Even Happiness, her stunning second LP. That same evening, Byrne performed a record release show in the show space at Brooklyn’s Rough Trade record store. It was an evening fit for the release of what will likely be remembered as one of the year’s most beautiful records. From the dark lighting to the wonderful support bands, it was truly a fine evening.
The opening set was from Atlanta-based Suno Deko
, the project of David Courtright. It was a dreamy set of reverb laden vocals and guitar, some synth and entrancing projected visuals. It was some really lovely stuff and truly set the tone for the evening.
The next group was a group of five brothers and sisters called Infinity’s Song. Their set was lovely, sprinkled with some covers and some really wonderful original tracks written by some of the band members, they warmed up the audience quite nicely.
Then, the lights dimmed and Julie Byrne sat down on a chair right in the center of the stage. Her presence was known immediately as the venue quieted immediately. Byrne opened the set with the magnificent “Melting Grid”
, joined by a violinist and a keyboardist, it sounded just as gorgeous as the record cut. It was tough to get a picture of Byrne, not only because of the dark blue that encompassed the stage, but also because even the thought of a camera shutter closing was enough to cut through the atmosphere like a knife. Next, Byrne played “Sea as it Glides”
which she described as the “ooh ooh ooh song”, in reference to the spellbinding harmonies in the song.
By the time she played “Sleepwalker”
, she had Rough Trade completely captivated. Watching her finger pick each note and hearing that smoky voice was enchanting. Then, with a stunning performance of the lead track from Not Even Happiness, “Finding My Voice”
she somehow managed to bring that show to another level. For the final song, she placed her guitar down and sang “I Live Now As a Singer”
accompanied only by a little bit of synthesizer. It was the perfect song to close the show, leaving the audience wanting more, but satisfied by the pure beauty of the whole experience.
Julie Byrne’s Not Even Happiness
truly is a captivating, warm record. From the delicately picked songs to the synth-laden ones, each song brings a warmth and comfort to the listener, and that is something we so desperately need. Seeing her performing these songs live, with an audience as captivated as myself, it is obvious that her music has the same effect on everyone who is lucky enough to hear it.
Byrne is playing three shows with Josh Ritter in NYC at City Winery in February, as well as some other shows in the Northeast including one with Vagabon. For more info, check out her tour dates on her Bandcamp.
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