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The Weathervane Music Showcase at Johnny Brenda’s, Featuring Ava Luna, Steven A. Clark and Twin Sister.

January 14, 2013

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAText and images by Kyle Bagenstose.

Weathervane Music kicked off season 4 of its Shaking Through series at Johnny Brenda’s on Saturday night, featuring a trio of performances from artists who have recorded with the project and guest appearances from members of Philly regulars like Dr. Dog and The War on Drugs.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAShaking Through alumni and Brooklynites Ava Luna got things started with a roller coaster-like sound, mixing slow, soulful vocals with funky synths and the occasional rock outburst. The lead vocals of Carlos Hernandez, backed by harmonies from Becca Kauffman (also guitar) and Felicia Douglass (also synths) turn many of the songs introspective. But drummer Julian Fader and bassist Ethan Bassford keep a rock presence just under the surface, and then bring it out nicely when Ava Luna goes loud.

Next up was the introduction of R&B singer Steven A. Clark, a Fayetteville, N.C. native who is the first featured artist in Shaking Through season 4. Clark lived up to comparisons to artists like Frank Ocean, immediately drawing eyeballs to the stage with his smooth vocals and lost-love lyrics. As his set progressed, the beats and cascading style of guitarist Jesus picked up, moving more than a few people past the toe tapping stage and into legitimate dancing.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAlark broke from his set to allow Weathervane co-founder and music producer Brian McTear, along with Shaking Through deputy director Peter English, on stage to roll down a pair of video screens and premiere the first episode of season 4. As with previous artists, the video chronicled Clark’s two-day recording session in McTear’s Miner Street Recordings studio, where he was able to professionally craft his single “Bounty.” The track and video will officially be released on January 23.

In the video, Clark praised the opportunity to work with McTear, along with musicians like Man Man drummer Christopher Powell and War on Drugs bassist Dave Hartley, on the single. Afterward, Powell and Hartley joined Clark to play the song live, and Ava Luna’s Kauffman and Douglass also took to the stage to provide back-up vocals.

Following the collaborative performance, the audience was treated to another set of cameos, starting with a four-minute drum solo from Dr. Dog’s Eric Slick.

In the third scheduled set of the night, Brooklyn-based Twin Sister had the unenviable task of drawing a late night barroom’s attention back to the stage. But the quintet was able to do so, as vocalist Andrea Estella’s voice drifted dreamily through the venue, the stage lit in a subdued blue. Not in the mood to put anyone to sleep, the band varied the pace throughout their set, adding in some funky, disco elements that kept the dancier patrons happy well past midnight.

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