The dynamic artsy setting of Glasslands drew a diverse, enthusiastic crowd for a Sunday night showcase of the east coast’s premier indie rap label. Opening the gig was Bar Area emcee Kirby Dominant, a surprise last minute addition to Fake Four Inc.’s Brooklyn extravaganza. Sporting suspenders over a tucked-in white button-down, Kirby asked the Williamsburg audience if his attire was hipster enough before launching into tracks from Champagne Nightmares, his latest Paranoid Castle album alongside Canadian beat god Factor. “Feeling Inside” roused just-arriving fans with its upbeat, this-too-shall-pass mantra before the intoxicating soundscape of “Orca” inspired a buzzed sing-along.
Guelph, Ontario-based Gregory Pepper And His Problems were responsible for the indie rock/pop portion of the evening. From his torn white tee over tatted arms to his two-minute energy-filled lamentations, Pepper exudes punk. Escape From Crystal Skull Mountain, the just-released album drawing high praise and at least one comparison to Harry Nilsson, dominated his short but sweet set list. Backed by David Ramos on drums, Pepper’s witty pity party paraded on via “Born To Die” and “At Least I’m Not A Musician”.
Cars & Trains further demonstrated the versatility of Fake Four behind the glowing white apple of a MacBook and his restrained acoustic strumming. Falling somewhere between folk and electronic, the artist lesser known as Tom Filepp slowed down the night’s pace with pensive selections such as “Nations” from his latest and greatest album We Are All Fire. “The meter / of the song / that I sing / loses time / with the air / that I breathe / through my lungs / as the dust settles,” Filepp sang on the lovely, down-tempo “Intimidated By Silence”.
Folk rap OG Ceschi took the stage last, with support from brother David Ramos on drums as well as Max Heath of Child Actor on keys. Together, the three form Anonymous Inc., a progressive and intriguing outfit. David is the textbook definition of a good dude. Chatting with him after the show, he mentioned that following every date of the current northeast run, he has driven home to Connecticut in order to be able to assist his grandfather with his morning routine, doing the best he can to get by on three hours of sleep. A beastly Anonymous Inc. instrumental breakdown later in the set which accompanied a Grizzly Bearish track, with Ceschi on guitar and Heath providing lead vocals, defied any traditional categorization and gave fans a thrilling glimpse of what the trio has been working on. (Here’s a clip of said track from 2011′s Fake Four Fest.)
Ceschi showed love to large sections of his catalogue, with standouts from They Hate Francisco False and The One Man Band Broke Up putting smiles on the faces of increasingly drunk Brooklynites. The lonesome, accordion-infused “Frank Propose” was a welcome addition. “You should have married her / when you had the chance / on that Saturday / proposed with that pink plastic ring that came / inside of a box of Safeway cornflakes,” he solemnly crooned. Keeping with his M.O., Ceschi performed chunks of his set in the audience, inviting staggering levels of crowd participation on tracks such as the morose, anthemic “Bad Jokes”.
At one point Gregory Pepper reemerged and briefly sat on David’s shoulders, before losing balance and seemingly face-planting on the cold, hard floor. Undeterred, Pepper quickly rose to his feet and resumed wilding out to the hilarious Ramos brothers skewering of Bono on “No Bono,” in which the duo implies U2’s false prophet killed rock and roll. Pepper then joined Ceschi on stage for a gorgeously off-kilter rendition of Common Grackle’s “The Great Depression,” which mutated drastically into an impromptu heavy metal scream-fest at its climax, a somehow-fitting close to a brilliant night of music.