Live Review: Good Graeff at Bowery Ballroom in New York, NY

Material: Twins Brooklyn and Brittany Graeff never sought a musical career. After competing in a battle of the bands they went separate ways. Years later, after living together in Vietnam, they decided to give their all in music. Full of youthful exuberance and a quirky sophistication, their alternative rock sound (indie to the core) has taken them on tour across North America.

Good Graeff’s songs offer simple and direct messages, but the music is drenched in complexities, from alternating rhythms to inner hooks in motif form. “I Want That” revisits the age-old dilemma of wanting what you can’t have; but there’s no crying in their beer: “And I’ll take what I want and all I want is you,” a bolder stance instead of another casualty of love. The music is more intricate, especially in the chorus, which changes feel and rhythm while the lyrics put emphasis on unexpected syllables.

Musicianship: Both sisters exhibit strong musical prowess. Lead singer Brooklyn has stylized delivery but enough of an organic component to not sound affected. Brittany, one of the stronger influences, creates beautiful cello lines full of feeling and rich in sonic texture. The sisters serve as a strong magnet for sidemen Solu and Owens, who assist in tandem to elevate the musical experience to pulling the band together into a cohesive unit.

Performance: They took to the stage as if the world was their oyster, performing with abandon and commitment. Good Graeff brought out the headliner, Mates of State, for a joint number cementing themselves to the main draw of the evening. Brooklyn, who fronts the band, was adept at making lighthearted banter with the crowd segueing easily from each song. The sisters work in an intriguing and gratifying level.

Summary: Good Graeff have a decent head start not only because they are twins (good marketing potential), but with their combined talents they share a powerful musical bond. Although their material is left of center, they will attract a loyal fan base of those who love everything indie, especially twins who successfully convey their love of making music.

The Players: Brooklyn Graeff, vocals, guitar; Brittany Graeff, cello, recorder; Tyler Solu, bass; Damon Owens, drums.

Venue: Bowery Ballroom
City: New York, NY
Contact: [email protected]
Web: goodgraeff.com

Photo by Mark Shiwolich