“So this whole record was a way for me to find a tribe. New York can be a great place to meet people but it can also be kind of isolating,” Sydney Wayser explained from the stage at Joes’ Pub, where she had her final, final record release show on Thursday night. “I feel like we’re not as connected as we used to be with all of the social media […] So I wanted to connect, to build a tribe.”
“And then start a war,” Guitarist Gabe Duncan quipped from behind her, “That’s what tribes do, right?”
Wayser looks like the very last person to ever take part in a war. She seems straight out of a fairy tale, especially adorned as she was last night in a flowing beige one-piece with bell-bottom legs, a black crown-like cap and matching cape. She sways softly as she sings, her arms floating out like gossamer threads. She embodies the same fragility that she says she is aware of in all people, balanced by a bold resolve.
“I know in here it’s all, like … the 1920s,” Wayser said, acknowledging the refined manner of the venue, “but you don’t have to be all prim. You can, like cheer…”
“The 1920s were pretty crazy, you know,” came another quip from behind her.
“True… That’s true,” she agreed.
“…Maybe the 1820s?” laughed a band member elsewhere on the stage.
She played through the songs on her newly released album, Bell Choir Coast, supported by five talented (and clearly witty) men behind her. Half-way through the set, they tip-toed off the stage, leaving her alone to accompany herself on a new song. Her intimacy was chilling, as she sang tenderly “Tell me, tell me, where would you want to go? Is there somewhere , somewhere far away you know?” At the song’s end, the sparse piano notes dissolved under her vocals, choked to a whisper.
For the encore, she invited a slew of friends from the audience up to the stage to join her on the bouncy “Dream It Up”.
“Memorize these faces because they’re all wonderful, talented musicians and they’re gonna blow your mind,” she cooed.
Wayser and her band leave on Sunday to tour with Blitzen Trapper. Speaking of mind-blowing, those will be shows to catch.