The long-awaited third album from Gabrielle Smith’s project Gabby’s World, Beast on Beast, sparked a warm and welcoming release show at Bushwick’s Elsewhere Zone One.
It was the first snowfall of the season in the city, blanketing the streets on the way to the Brooklyn venue where Gabby’s World (fka Ó and Eskimeaux in past years) had extended an invitation to the celebration of the release of Beast on Beast, her third release following two LPs in 2015. In a regular friendly get-together, the release was a revolving door of faces, recognizable and new, up and off the stage for a showcase of the talent in Gabby’s hometown.
Emily Yacina‘s mesmerizing vocals and insightful lyrics were heightened by soft guitar. For her last two songs, she features the first of many rotating guests as Gabby and Greta Kline (of Frankie Cosmos and upcoming Lexie) joined on vocals, and then in kneeling after Emily’s guitar strap broke. With a few minutes left to spare at the end of her set, she played “All the Things,” inciting whoops from the audience.
Lexie, featuring guitarist Alex Bailey and drummer Doug Bleichner from Frankie Cosmos and Warehouse, brought familiar jangly guitar riffs and harmonies that the multi-talented musicians are known for, but with an added intensity. They opened on “Youngster,” a back-and-forth between Greta and Alex that outlines the all-too-recognizable feelings of moving into adulthood and leaving childhood behind, laid over a toe-tappingly great beat.
“This is a regular old vaudeville show,” Gabby joked once she and her band take the stage – including longtime partner and collaborator Oliver Kalb of Bellows – and she wasn’t wrong. In a playthrough of the entirety of Beast on Beast, she invited singer Sophie for the titular track, then Greta, and then both for more as the stage grew increasingly crowded with the grinning musicians.
“Is it possible to get this disco ball going for our last song?” Gabby called out before “Arrival,” then announced they would be skipping the oft-awkward gap between “finishing” and encore, to enthusiastic cheers. Gabby’s light-hearted songwriting, poetic lyrical content and unique airy vocals, showcased here on this night, have manifested in a whole new way for Beast on Beast, and it was no wonder that Zone One is packed from front to back with an enthralled crowd. The excitement in the air only grew when the “encore” song starts – “Broken Necks,” the title track for her 2015 LP O.K., a bubbling track and a favorite of many, left us buzzing on its energy.