It’s been two and half years since my last Coachella experience, yet after all this time, it was the LA dance-pop outfit Capital Cities that left a lasting impression. Catching them in the small venue as they’re preparing to release their sophomore album was a can’t miss event, so off I went on a solo date with myself. I arrived a little after 8 p.m. as they were playing my favorite track, ‘One Minute More.’ A perceptive roadie saw the FOMO in my eyes and kindly escorted me to the front of the stage from the side door. Whoever you were, thanks man.
The band features Ryan Merchant on vocals, keyboard, guitar and Sebu Simonian on vocals and keyboard who remind me of Adam Levine and ZZ Top, respectively. They tour with four other musicians on drums, bass, keyboards and the source of their signature sound, trumpet. As FOMO subsided, I migrated to the center back of the room to enjoy the show in acoustic superiority (and the bar). They mostly played songs off their first album, In a Tidal Wave of Mystery, including fan favorites ‘Kangaroo Court,’ ‘Origami,’ Chartreuse’ and of course their best known song, ‘Safe and Sound.’
While there’s not an announced release date or album title, the new material is encouraging. I’m already a fan of their latest single, ‘Vowels,’ and not just because of my penchant for words. ‘Space’ and a song called ‘River Phoenix’ (swoon) also received love from the dominantly straight crowd packed inside Bowery Ballroom. My favorite moments were ‘I Sold My Bed, But Not My Stereo,’ and an encore of ’80s anthems, the Prince-penned ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’ and Madonna’s ‘Holiday.’ The whole thing climaxed into an EDM dance party and a Cash Cash remix reprise of ‘Safe and Sound.’