Rockwood Music Hall New York, NY
Contact: [email protected]
Players: Juliana Parker, piano, vocals; Leon Litewski, guitar; Andy Sepe, bass; Nate Repasz, drums
Material: Juliana Parker's pop/rock pennings and performing style lean toward the theatrical while still employing rock rhythms and insightful lyrics.
In the heartbreaking “Rhode Island Road,” Parker brings poignancy to the end of a relationship: I emptied bottles of perfume to drench your scent out of my bed/ I just washed it deeper into every thread/ oh I watched as you shrunk to nothing in my rear view/ that’s the truth left behind on Rhode Island Road.
“Waiting On The Line,” the catchiest of the set, with its driving rhythm and pivotal interval of a fourth down, makes the verse compelling. The payoff is in the tag line, which is the title of the song.
Musicianship: Parker plays a mean piano, with proficiency, gusto, and spirit. Her vocals range from full-voiced belt to a delicate airiness in the upper range. Her bandmates seem more like a tight unit with a mission than mere sidemen. Though they don’t have individual solo moments, there are numerous intriguing rhythmic patterns as well as guitar and bass lines.
Performance: Feisty and accessible, she says what’s on her mind. There’s no holding back when it comes to emoting, capitalizing on that full-voiced belt. When she does pull back, there is a sweetness and introspective quality to her voice.
Since stories abound in her material, to know more of what fuels them would have added even more dimension to the performance. Parker offers variety in her material, but most of the driving rock-oriented songs were weighted to the first half of the set. Switching the order would enhance the overall dynamic and flow.
In an absolute departure, “The Moon” underscored the power it has over us. Performed a cappella, with only foot stomping as accompaniment, was a unique moment.
Summary: Juliana Parker is a skilled performer whose songs spring from an interesting point of view. To learn more of what’s behind them would be a plus, as well as letting us see more of her vulnerable side.