The Pinhook, Durham
April 27, 2010
To Spring forth, such as with spontaneity ...is such apt homonymy for the weather outside right now. This past Tuesday night joined a growing number of recent nights whose stay-in-and-rest plans were upended by the draw of beautiful weather and the need to be out in it. Possibilities now dancing, it felt like a Pinhook night, as have many lately. A quick look at The Pinhook's event calendar confirmed the destination. Justin Roberts and The Mary Annettes were anchoring a show with singer song-writers Bess Rogers and Lelia Broussard opening. I recalled the shimmer of sequence and violin strings from the Humble Tripe album release at Duke Coffeehouse last December where Justin Robinson and the Mary Annettes set the room up for inventive expression as the opening act and I was eager to see them in the the same element as a headliner.
Stepping across the edge of downtown Durham I absorbed through The Pinhook's front room crowd in my accustomed manner but emerging into the stage room everything was wildly different. A remodeled The Pinhook positioned a commanding stage at the opposite end of the room where Lelia Broussard was now stomping and spinning her ready-for-radio acoustic romps. A couple high fives into the crowd later I found my new favorite spot to stand at The Pinhook and treated myself to some shutter crack while the highly photogenic Lelia grinned and winked her way through a pop savvy set.
The crowd was multiplying at the this point and soon I realized that the universal Spring time spontaneity that drove me from my living room likely wasn't the same drive that was filling The Pinhook on a Tuesday night. Rather, Justin Robinson and The Mary Annettes upon only a fifth public performance are gaining followers quickly and judging from the cheers and ovation abruptly after song outtros, these are minions who are following closely.
So too should they, there are many dynamics to take note of within this music. Their graceful and elegant classical instrument adorned stage presence, the tension and depth of a violin's bow stretching across its strings, a banjo picking apart a forlorn chord progression...there is so much instrumental texture in a Justin Robinson and The Mary Annettes performance that light from a camera flash can barely penetrate to the back walls. Polishing these textures are imaginative and dramatic lyrics that wisp the songs off the stage and stand them right next to you. "Born of the earth but I'm bound to the Sea" crooned over tumultuous and yearning violin on "Bonfire" is heart ache laced up with allure which exemplifies their style. A Justin Robinson and The Mary Annettes show is worth springing for...spontaneously or otherwise. --Carrboro Ninja
Justin Robinson and The Mary Annettes
faces in the crowd