Thursday, November 10th – Ascending the stairs to Shea Stadium, the sultry chords of St. Claire echoed off the walls. Front woman Emily Forsythe’s commanding, yet distant presence was certainly in contrast to the succeeding post punk/pop groups, but set an intimate tone for the small DIY venue. Reminiscent of Mazzy Star circa 1993, St. Claire relaxed the handful of attendees into comfortable sways and sauntering melodies with her acoustic guitar as her backing Richenbacker, synth, and later, banjo, pedaled the soothing tracks to a pacified and dignified close.
The Fagettes and Heavens Gate followed, waking the crowd from the somber mood, but it wasn’t until Life Size Maps took to the stage that Shea Stadium felt truly alive. The once disassociated crowd burst into bloom when the driving intro of “This Same House” broke out as their first track.
What started out as a seven-piece, mini orchestra, Life Size Maps evolved into a power-trio whose full sound and energy still embody that of the over half-dozen they used to be. Guitarist Mike McKeever, drummer Jordyn Blakely and cellist Rob Karpay have a seamless synergy like that of coffee, milk and sugar, if the sugar were crack-rock, the milk from the teat of a Sentaur and the beans forged in the hellish depths of Moldar.
Blakely’s raw and dirty drumming is what solders the group together. While most girls were out at the mall in high school, Blakely was listening to Jimi Hendrix, saying to herself, “I want to play drums like that guy,” referring to Mitch Mitchell. Eventually that desire carried her, to Berklee College of Music and soon after coming to Brooklyn, she responded to a post on Craigslist, joining both Mike and Rob.
As McKeever’s songwriting sets the band apart from the towering inferno of experimental pop groups, utilizing minored chords and dark breakdowns sounding like an infestation of spiders in a decaying house (listen to “It’s Leaking”), Life Size Maps real beefiness comes not from a pulsing bass but Karpay’s cello.
While Karpay may have first learned the cello because of his crush on a girl back in middle school, he has evolved into a rip-roaring maniac on stage, hair flailing and arms ary.
Life Size Maps presence and sheer magnetic prowess drove the set to the very last second, leaving the crowd calling for more.
As of late, in support of their first six-song EP, Magnifier, Life Size Maps have been tearing up the Brooklyn DIY scene. Just a few weekends ago they turn the unexpected heads of patrons to the new space on Johnson Ave, The Neverlands. Check out their website for show updates and track downloads.
Night Manager closed the night out, feeding the crowds itch for more. And while they performed a rocking set, the tingling aroma of Life Size Maps sat in the air for far longer.