California Closes Out Summer At Lyric Hall

“Happy Labor Day, everyone. Good to see some of you are wearing white. It’s the last chance of the summer season.”

So Alex Burnet of Laundry Day amiably kicked off a night of music to a full house at Lyric Hall, on, of all things, the Monday of Labor Day weekend. The show, put together by musician and record-label head Ceschi, brought out Burnet and Anonymous, Inc. to support touring acts Little Wings and Weyes Blood en route to Providence.

Burnet, who has been on the New Haven scene for a few years now as a solo act and as the leader of Proud Flesh and Laundry Day, is one of those musicians who gets better every time you see him. On Monday he played and sang with the ease and skill of a veteran, and the context of a solo set let the audience appreciate what a fine songwriter he and his bandmates are, too — New Haven’s answer to The Low Anthem.

Anonymous, Inc. — composed of Ceschi, his brother David Ramos on drums, and Max Heath of Child Actor on keyboards—delivered a rousing set that drew from the artists’ solo projects and their collaborative works. The band made a couple mentions of not playing together often recently, but the trio’s long history of playing together more than made up for it. Ceschi and David played rhythm together as only brothers can, so tight that it occasionally seemed telepathic.

With the crowd officially hooked, the Brooklyn-based Weyes Blood — a.k.a. Natalie Mering — dropped a drop-dead gorgeous solo set particularly suited to Lyric Hall.

“This place is haunted,” she said in between songs, looking around at Lyric Hall’s restored vaudeville theater. “You can smell it.”

Mering came on a bit like a lost child of the 1970s, a connection she made pretty explicit with a atmospheric cover of Harry Nilsson’s “Everybody’s Talkin’.” Her songs partook of the same lush, harmonically knotty sound that Joni Mitchell and Judee Sill pulled from, but in Mering’s hands the sound was modernized and indie-fied, to make something that felt familiar and accessible, and at the same time, fresh.

Weyes Blood’s California feel was a perfect Segway to a long and seriously vibey set from Little Wings. Frontman Kyle Fields, joined by Lee Baggett, soaked Lyric Hall in the warm sound of their twin guitars and Fields’s raspy, inviting voice, whether it was Fields’s originals or his hilariously straight-faced hip hop covers. He ended his set with what he described as a sad song about autumn, “because autumn is when you see life die,” he deadpanned. But the song wasn’t so much sad as beautiful, a fitting end to an immensely satisfying night of music. Even if we all have to put away our whites for another few months.

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