Tris McCall and fellow compatriot played, in a long time, live at The Hutton, in Jersey City on April 5th. The set included the duo’s characteristic infectious stage vibe, animated playing, thoughtful lyrics, and just smiles for the fans alike.
The Hutton is located on the corner of Hutton Street and Sanford Place, which is that diagonal street that runs from Pershing Field Park to JFK Boulevard. The classically derived decorations of the bar and restaurant gleamed with the right stage for the the show to be framed.
McCall and Flannery decided to mix things up by circulating between McCall’s latest and almost finalized due out album ‘American Almanac’ (first hand trips to cities he’d visited, then wrote the songs and accompanying stories about the places and people he’d met), and Flannery’s ‘Try Your Hardest’ which dropped in 2017.
The chemistry between the two artists is obvious and flavorfully fun, for their existing energy and the love of the songs they’d created for themselves and for their fans, exude the right kind of purpose, in any arena.
Tris McCall has been in the game for a long while and he believes that the only valid subjects for rock music are cars and sexual frustration. As his own writing is (mostly) about architecture, transport, bicycles, urban politics, public culture and disgraced officials, he considers his songs (mostly) invalid.
His latest project ‘The American Almanac’, is an open-ended, web-based collection of storytelling songs set in different cities. Each city page of the Almanac contains: A streamable song, a short story narrated by the main character of the song, lyrics to the song, a cartoon of the character, a few tourist tips – a vegetarian restaurant, a bike ride, a house of worship – specific to that city.
Before he created the Almanac project, McCall released four albums of anxious, wordy, synthesizer-heavy pop-rock. Prior sets have been produced by Scott Miller [Game Theory, The Loud Family], Jay Braun [The Negatones, Jon Spencer] and Michael Flannery [The Chamber Band, Sara Hallie Richardson]. His projects have been profiled in The New York Times, The Star Ledger, Jersey Beat, Badaboom Gramaphone, and by many other discerning journalists who enjoy the volatile combination of big words and minor chords.
McCall has added his battery of synths to recordings by Overlord, My Teenage Stride, Mr. Flannery & His Feelings, Kapow!, Japan Seoul, Palomar, Denver Zest, Sasha Alcott & The Possibilities, The Consultants, and quite a few other projects worth your attention.
Two new albums drawn from the Almanac will be released in 2018.
Michael Flannery is a musician and producer and was principally known for the band Little-T And One Track Mike which was signed to Atlantic Records in the early 2000’s. He’d worked and collaborated with Slick Rick, toured with OutKast. Since then, he has produced several records at his studio and recently formed a new project titled ‘Mr. Flannery and His Feelings’.
His most recent output is the full length album ‘Try Your Hardest’ (Rhyme And Reason Records). An album that gathers his thought, his trepidation, his quests, his ruminations, his doubts, his championing and smoldering silent questions for life. The complex arrangement of thought deflects off of his indie rock guitar riffs and often times harsh and realistic lyrics.
Michael Flannery’s Mr. Flannery & His Feelings’ ‘Try Your Hardest’ is available now.
There’s always something to the power of music and live sessions. The world’s apart expertise of such artists as McCall & Flannery, describes how the little notes on the guitar, the drums, a keyboard, can consume then spit out the feelings of happiness, joy, life’s jaunts, excesses, opinions, and unwarranted solitude of a journey through a Universe becoming. It’s a surprise, sometimes, how we humans manage through all of this.
But there’s always music. And, as we’d mentioned, a live set can heal most. The rest is filled with good company, some food, and drinks. From there, we take our doggie-bags full of joy from the show, and go home better fulfilled.
We certainly enjoyed this evening, and we hope that McCall & Flannery will do this, again and again.
Tris McCall & Michael Flannery(*) Set List:
Nowhere To Go But Down
Every Day Is Children’s Day
I Like America
Dance Of Love (*)
Embers Of Dead Fires (*)
Pushing Up (*)
Welcome To Bangor (*)
Sugar Nobody Wants
Seen It Before
Unbeliever, Respect The Veil
The Year You Got Warm
All The Money In The World
Hymn Of The Isolated Artist (*)
Backstage At The Hungry Bum
Somewhere Down the Line
No No Calypso (*)
Aranui III (*)