Landlady brings some color to the M-Shop

Landlady, a New York based band, performs at the M-Shop Thursday.

Kyle Cravens

Although Landlady ran a little late, and didn’t get a proper sound check, you wouldn’t know it, they sounded remarkably close to the material on the record, which is admirable, to say the least.

Landlady hails from Brooklyn, New York, which holds the inspiration for their name.

“I was living in New York and I just found myself saying the word landlady a lot, because I had an actual landlady that was really s—-y,” said frontman Adam Schatz. “I had to call her frequently and the name was always one bouncing around my head.

Landlady performed last night at the Maintenance Shop in support of their new album, The World Is a Loud Place

“We normally drive through this part of the country”, Schatz said. “It was nice to be able to meet some of the population here, and experience a college venue that is actually cool. Compared to the Maintenance Shop a lot of college shows are hit or miss, there’s a lot of s—-y venues out there.”

Upon entering the M-Shop I knew I was in for an experimental show, as Landlady’s artwork was proudly hung behind the stage, which doubles as the new album’s cover art. The art associated with the album is an extension of the band’s music, so having a wall of it behind the band fueled the desire to allow the band to take you places.

Before the sonic journey commenced however, relatively new band Basin took the stage to warm up the crowd. The bands focus was expansive music, the kind that really fills the room and reaches your mind. I have experienced many types of experimental music, but Basin’s sound didn’t really resonate with me as competing acts in the genre do. It put me into a sleep-like state rather than a cognitive one.

Perhaps it was the 15-minute halt in performance due to the lead singers distaste in the bass drum tracks, but the performance left a lot to be desired. The music itself wasn’t intolerable, but Basin could really use a drummer so they don’t have to rely on drumming tracks and technical issues that hinder the band’s likability. I couldn’t understand much of the lyrics as they got lost in the boisterous guitar and drum, but what I could manage to catch sounded like that of Michael Stipe from R.E.M.

The average-sized crowd Landlady had amassed wasn’t convinced quite yet to move close to the stage as the Brooklyn band stepped on stage.

“I don’t mean to make decisions for you, but if I could convince you to move closer to the stage”, laughed Schatz, “It would really create a warmth for us up here.”

From first song, “Nina,” to the last, Landlady was tight and expressive. Schatz was frantic, moving across the stage in desire to share his messages with the world. He believed in his lyrics, and his illusive themes in his songs were interesting and unique. Seeing Landlady live really allows you to see the world through the band’s eyes for a few hours.

I asked Schatz in an interview after the show how the band changes its sound for live shows in relation to the music on the record and he responded promptly.

“There’s a lot more improvisation, stops and starts are more pronounced and dramatic, also a lot louder of course,” he said.

One thing that stood out to me almost immediately while observing the band was the raw talent of drummer, Ian Chang. He utilized every part of the kit he brought, playing the underbelly of snare drums, and customizing how tight the skinheads were for every song, among other things. He played many of Landlady’s tracks with the other side of the drumstick, for a louder sound. He also never stuck to one drum pattern, as Landlady’s composure demanded a constantly changing rhythm section.

Chang explained Landlady’s writing process.

“We’re different than other bands in that we record as one group rather layering tracks on top of each other. This really helps us have a record quality sound [live] that lives up to you what you hear on the record.”

The band was very harmonious; Every member of the four-piece band was on the same page and had a good voice. Schatz himself has a unique tone that I haven’t heard in many other artists in today’s scenes. He also balanced his keyboard well with his surprise saxophone playing.

I would say that the song “Electric Abdomen,” which is featured on the new album, was the most well received by the audience as it played into every member’s strengths well.

As Schatz and the rest of the band head to Omaha to continue The World Is a Loud Place tour, the powerful songwriting and illusively solid live performances continue to attract new fans everywhere they go, myself included.