THE SOFT PACK is all business. Singer Matt Lamkin waits onstage prior to the start like an athlete in a competition, scanning the crowd with determination. He’s got a pretty serious job to do: to convince all these New York kids about his LA beachy garage-rock band. The band is incredibly tight live, for real, producing work that sounds super similar to the LP recordings. And the energy from the record at least doubles in the live setting. You no longer have to sit around and imagine how hard these dudes are playing their guitars: they’re playing the fuck out of their guitars.
Riding the success of their great debut LP as THE SOFT PACK (they previously released work as THE MUSLIMS), the guys came out with a bang, playing energetic tracks like C’mon and Down on Loving right up front to set the tempo. The live act, and I guess the album work in general, is really driven by their stand-up drummer and bassist. This was evident throughout the show, but was most evident when both Lamkin and Matty McLoughlin dropped their guitars during the drum-and-bass-driven MUSLIMS track Nightlife. Definitely a show highlight.
But the best parts of the set remain the material from the new self-titled LP, which we can’t stress enough is ultra solid from start to finish. Extinction was solid, and the record’s best track, Mexico, came out with a nice little preface from Lamkin. “This is a slow song so calm down,” which was actually some genuinely good humor considering that we had another pretty wack NYC crowd of mannequins. Set closer Answer to Yourself was near-perfect and left us all with a very satisfying taste in our mouths. If you’re looking to dance, get to one of THE SOFT PACK’s shows. Whether it’s that great new LP material that will no doubt continue to propel the band deeper into the spotlight, or older material from THE MUSLIMS, the show should be a dance party. I guess someone forgot to tell that to the stiffs at The Mercury Lounge. Pay your respects. Get out to their Saturday (4/3) show at The Music Hall of Williamsburg and let loose. Tickets are $12.
by: Brad Horenstein
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