With frontwoman April Smith's soulful vocals and quirky banter with the audience, April Smith and the Great Picture Show entertained all at Mercury Lounge for an early show last Wednesday. Playing songs off their most recent EP, Live From the Penthouse, the band's versatility is spell bounding.
Whether Smith is singing jazzier track "Terrible Things," a song she dedicated to hit television show, "Dexter," or having a guest band member play the suitcase onstage as if it was a drum (no joke), April Smith and the Great Picture Show kept the audience enthralled for the entirety of their set.
The cabaret inspired show brought to mind many genres; rock, pop, jazz and even classic tunes from the late 50s and 60s. Infused with guitar, bass, keyboards, percussion and melodica, among other surprise instruments, the band kept a lively and easygoing vibe throughout the night.
The energy was fierce during tracks like "Colors" with fun melodica features (think kazoo with a keyboard attached) and tambourine accompaniment, not to mention that suitcase I mentioned earlier. Who knew a band could have the percussion section consist of a suitcase? Definitely a first seeing a suitcase being played onstage.
Stand out track was emotional ballad, "Beloved." Before beginning, Smith told the crowd she wrote "Beloved" about her grandparents. "I hope one day two people in the movie Twilight will be kissing to it," she joked. "Maybe Bella or Edward will make out to this song." With lyrics like "You are the thrill that stilled my beating heart, baby/You are the one I dream the most/But if I cannot have the real thing/I'll gladly settle for your ghost," it's hard not to picture hearing it on the big screen.
Ending their set with fun track "Wow and Flutter," Wednesday night was only a glimpse into the bright future for April Smith and the Great Picture Show. Garnering a slot opening for for The Bangles as well as this year's Lollapalooza is well deserved and I won't be surprised if you'll be hearing April Smith and the Great Picture Show everywhere soon.
For more on April Smith and the Great Picture Show, be sure to visit them on MySpace.
Recommended: For fans of Duffy and Tom Waits with the energy and emotion of PJ Harvey and Etta James.