It was a sort of homecoming for Long Island's As Tall As Lions, the band played a one off, headlining show at New York City's Bowery Ballroom last night and made every jaw drop to the ground. It was a packed stage, full of gear, lights, extra musicians and a small choir known as "the hotties," As Tall As Lions roared from the first note to the last for over an hour. Walking on stage, singer Daniel Nigro looked pensive but poised as his band tested new songs from their forthcoming You Can't Take it With You, due in August. Opening with the new single "Circles," Nigro and Co., had the crowd in awe, with hands clapping and arms in the air, the fans couldnt wait to hear more new cuts. It has been a little while since fans got a taste of new Lions tunes, the bands acclaimed 2006 self titled record got them world wide attention, and the 2007 EP Into the Flood was a tease of some new material to hold everyone over. Playing a good amount of new songs, you can tell the band was unsure how the crowd would receive them, but the fans kept screaming for more. The new material sound much more experimental and ambitious than anything they have done before and live it sounded on point and perfect, only leading to high expectations as to what they will sound like on disc.
They also hit deep into their catalogue with songs from their debut, Lafcadio and the self titled. The Lions also touched on crowd favorites such as "Stab City," and "Ghost of Yorke," what was noticeably absent from the bands set list was their breakthrough single "Love, Love, Love (Love, Love)" and the show stopping "Break Blossom." Yet, with so many fantastic songs, they may have been forgotten but not missed. Having seen As Tall As Lions four times now, the true highlight of any Lions show is their performance. The band is a group of perfectionists, Nigro's voice is just pitch perfect, guitarist Sean Fitzgerald has a style that would rival The Edge, yet the most fun is watching bassist Julio Tavarez and drummer Cliff Sarcona play off each other and keeping the rhythm so tight and engaging. Watching Taverez play his bass is like watching feeding time at the zoo, he is an animal on his axe and bringing his Latin fury to the instrument and moving on stage like Michael Jackson, he is a show all in his own.
A great night and a great preview of what is to come with You Can't Take It With You in August, and if the record sounds anything like some of it did last night, As Tall As Lions may have made one of the best albums of the year.