ARC IRIS - FRIDAY, JANUARY 16th
with special guest Anthony D'Amato
FRIDAY, JANUARY 16th
Doors 7:00 PM / Showtime 8:00 PM
Pre-sales end at noon on the day of the show. Any remaining tickets will be sold at the door on a first-come, first-served basis.
Tickets are will call only, transferable but non-refundable.
“Arc Iris is the sound of an artist reborn. The band’s self-titled debut, due in April, brims with whimsy and flights of fancy, informed as much by Joni Mitchell as it is by ’70s prog-rock, Björk’s sonic experiments, and sweeping film soundtracks. It’s hypnotic.”
- James Reed, Boston Globe
“A deliriously ambitious collection of songs birthed from folk and country traditions, cabaret, jazz and classical, and seventies pop. It all sounds like quite a heavy musical stew, but it delivers on the promise of genres colliding together in part to the excellent songwriting, Adams’ lovely voice, and a superb quality of the level of musicianship.”
- Bruce Warren, XPN
Arc Iris crystallizes the evolution of composer, singer, and multi-instrumentalist Jocie Adams, a former core member of renowned indie-folk band The Low Anthem. This is a breakaway moment for Adams, who now takes center stage as composer, lyricist, and lead vocalist. Embracing her new role as auteur, Adams has created a genre-bending style that often shifts between cabaret-infused jazz, orchestral sophistication, grimy outlaw country, delicate and whimsical harmonies, and big-band exhilaration – sometimes all in the same song. Hers is an all-together different world where fantastical whimsy goes hand in hand with down-to-earth grit, and where rigorous classical training inflects but never softens the visceral rawness of hard-won experience.
Adams is a refreshingly grounded character who draws on the same combination of technical wizardry and lighthearted wonder whether she is grappling with a complex set of notes or rigging up an indoor playground for her cat. She’s dabbled in rocket science, but a stint working at NASA isn’t really what sets her apart – it’s the fact that she couldn’t care less about it. That same freedom of spirit compelled Adams, who is a classically trained composer, to make the leap to the world of rock when she joined The Low Anthem in 2007. Now, she’s transformed herself once again by carving out a space that is wholly her own within the worlds of lyric writing and orchestral arrangement. Songs on the 11 track album range in sonic and emotional intensity – from the patient brooding of “Honor of the Rainbows” to the smoky cyclical aura of “Lost on Me.”
Adams’ vast aesthetic vision is matched only, and appropriately, by the band’s multifaceted musicianship, which includes Zach Tenorio-Miller on piano, Mike Irwin on trumpet, Robin Ryczek on cello, Ray Belli on drums, Max Johnson on bass, and Charlie Rose on steel banjo and trombone. In rehearsing, the group drew inspiration from a range of artists, in particular Dirty Projectors, Harry Nilsson, and Leonard Cohen. The album’s unique sound is informed as much by Joni Mitchell as it is by Björk’s sonic experiments and sweeping film soundtracks.
Yet while songs on the album pull just as readily from 19th century cello and 1970s pop, what emerges cannot be called mere eclecticism. Adams’ style is highly focused at every twist and turn, creating an aesthetic where juxtaposed edges are sharpened rather than blunted. In “Money Gnomes,” the rollicking simplicity of a bluegrass bassline makes room for sweeping, cello-infused turns around the dance floor. Part morning jaunt down a dusty road, part lithe-limbed waltz, the music, like its lyrics, seems to offer potential for adventure and ultimately, in the breathy mantra of its coda, intimacy. “Swimming,” meanwhile, infuses the wry commentary and piano-draping antics of a folk-cabaret routine with woozy, orchestral impressionism. Saucy trumpet hits—doubled in Adams’s vocals—and the obsessive ticking of snare and high-hat foreshadow, but never quite give away, the song’s eventual, and eminently satisfying, dissolution into wailing rock outro. Together the pieces cohere to explore the concept of the new – an experience that is as intoxicating as it is terrifying. “Arc Iris encapsulates that sense of the future for me,” Adams says, “a sign of something beautiful that will hold my hand for a long time.”
The group’s fearless embrace of juxtaposition is apparent in the way they practice and perform. Members won’t hesitate to spend hours tinkering with a few notes if it means enhancing the synthesis of sound and storytelling. “We will always try every single idea,” Adams explains. (Her neighbors probably agree – one morning after a rehearsal went past 3 a.m., a crew arrived to install sound-proofing for the house next door). Yet on stage, disciplined background morphs seamlessly into spontaneous innovation. Band members don’t have set parts so the group never quite repeats itself two nights in a row. The musicians say that such on-the-spot acts of creation require two key ingredients: mutual trust, and individual nerve. And, they say, “we’ve got a pretty healthy dose of both.” This rare mix of obsessive attention to detail and quirky playfulness is a distinguishing feature of Arc Iris. This is what makes it possible to have, on the one hand, an album so refined and tightly crafted that it considers everything including the cords that connect one track to the next – and yet on the other hand have the musicians gleefully sum it all up as “mystical rainbow fairy kitten astronauts hurtling through the cosmos.”
Recorded with members of Bon Iver, Megafaun, and Josh Ritter’s band, Anthony D’Amato’s New West Records debut, ‘The Shipwreck From The Shore,’ has already earned praise from NPR and The NY Times to SPIN and Billboard for its brand of heavy-hearted folk shot through with electric streaks of rock and roll. Veering away from the homemade DIY production style that marked his early work, D’Amato relocated to producer Sam Kassirer’s Great North Sound Society, an 18th-century farmhouse-turned-studio in rural Maine, to cut the album raw and fast in just eleven days.
D’Amato first came to national attention with 2010’s ‘Down Wires,’ which he recorded with a single microphone in his college bedroom and NPR dubbed “a modern folk gem.” He followed it up with another home recording, ‘Paper Back Bones,’ which BBC Scotland named one of the Best Americana Albums of 2012. Dates in the US and Europe with Josh Ritter, Rhett Miller, Pete Yorn, Ben Kweller, Alejandro Escovedo, Mary Gauthier, Joe Pug, Gretchen Peters, Shawn Colvin, and more ensued, in addition to performances at the iconic Newport Folk Festival and Glasgow’s Celtic Connections.