As a new inhabitant of New York City, I’ve been eager to catch some live music. After all, the city’s history is rich with a diverse assortment of musical endeavors. From opera to disco to jazz to punk rock, New York has housed these and every genre in between.
I was fortunate enough to attend the ‘Lonely Together Tour’, headlined by Ethan Jewell. The Mercury Lounge provided an intimate environment which perfectly mirrors Jewell’s work which, by the way, blends seamlessly into New York’s ever-expanding musical nebula. His thought-provoking lyricism inspires an intense introspection into our emotions and remaining true to how we feel rather than putting on a facade.
Before Jewell took the stage, local support was provided by Retrograded, aka Jackson Klarsfeld, who warmed up the crowd with a genre-defying setlist. Starting with upbeat songs the crowd couldn’t help but bop to (and, at one point, stomp to) and finishing with a preview of his upcoming EP – “Think of Me”, to be released in February. Retrograded plays again this week at Berlin Under A on January 19th. Be sure to check him out!
Next on the roster, Mae Krell provided a few dreamy, indie-folk tunes. The mixture of her elegant writing style and astounding vocal abilities make me wonder how Krell is performing in a venue as small as the Mercury Lounge. A captivated audience clung to each word detailing break-ups, heartaches, anxieties, and other situations Krell has faced. In a similar fashion to Retrograded, Krell also teased a new song detailing her experiences with imposter syndrome as her career takes off. Keep an eye out for this track, which will hopefully drop in February!
Krell provided Jewell with a perfect set-up, as her gentle melodies brought the audience into a reflective space where there is strength in sensitivity. As the headliner, Jewell took to the stage to announce: he doesn’t sing (well, sometimes he does, but not really). Jewell’s set was a collection of spoken word poetry typically backed by his keyboard, and occasionally set to a more robust beat. The pieces Jewell performed and his conversations with the audience about the pieces were heavily concerned with understanding mental health and the impossible battle a negative state of mind can appear to be. As an advocate for prioritizing mental health, Jewell shared his own journey with the audience through storytelling, where his abilities as a poet shined. Additionally, his impressive performance abilities allowed his emotions to be heard, seen, and felt by each member of the audience.
To end his performance, Jewell invited Krell back to the stage to strum a guitar melody behind his singing of “i’ve had enough” – a track from his third album, loneliness in the presence of company. Watching the two perform on stage together encapsulated the whole meaning of the tour – we may feel lonely, we may feel sad, but if we can acknowledge that we all go through these feelings, we may not feel as alone. We can be lonely together.
Jewell and Krell will continue on to their final tour stops in Boston, MA on January 17th where they will be joined by Sophie Campbell, and Philadelphia, PA on January 18th where they will be joined by indie pop-rock band, Sleep House.
I cannot recommend this show enough, it is a performance created by pure talent. The ‘Lonely Together Tour’ is certainly just the beginning for these fantastic artists, and I cannot wait to see where they pop up next!