“All of our songs are about friends,” announced vocalist, guitarist, and songwriter Emily Rose of Glambat as her band began a set at Three Sheets — appropriate considering that each of the three acts playing Thursday night had a friendly connection to someone else involved in the show.
Singer-songwriter Alex Burnet of Laundry Day and The Proud Flesh booked the show with three friends of his as performers: singer-songwriter Patrick Dalton, his bandmate in The Proud Flesh; Footings, the project of Eric Gagne, a friend “from his New Hampshire days”; and Glambat, currently recording an album with Dalton.
The New Haven-based Dalton, first up to the stage alone with his guitar, mentioned before his set that he had been working with Rose and was excited for her full-length debut. He also spoke of his own unreleased songs that he had been working on and would share on this night along with songs from The Proud Flesh catalogue. He indeed shared both in his signature way, a mixture of the slightly gritty and softly striking, with less instrumental work than typically presented in band form but no less powerful. Familiar favorites including “Fanfare for the Pathetic Loser,” released on Election Day of 2016 but still fresh and impactive, and “Shrink Wrapped Heart,” in which Dalton offered assurance that “it’ll be all right.” In this presentation, the lyrics shone. You might be apt to believe him.
Even Dalton’s cover of “Graceland” put a brighter spotlight on that song’s poignant words. After it was over, he told the audience “That was Paul Simon, not me,” with a smile. But it was not difficult to track the lineage from Simon to Dalton. The audience continually responded with love. When he asked how many more songs he should play, one or two, someone shouted “play three more,” and everyone else cheered along.
Next to the stage was Footings, the members of which vocalist and guitarist Eric Gagne announced to the room were “from all over.” Gagne said before the show that he performs anywhere from solo to with up to five members. Tonight he was joined by Elisabeth Fuschia on viola and Candace Clement and Jordan Holtz on vocals. Based himself in New Hampshire, Gagne was on a ten-date tour with this lineup, which included a drummer on its first five nights and would include him again on the final date.
As Footings was on tour to support a new record coming out tentatively Sept, 7, Gagne’s friend Burnet “kindly” booked him for this show. He also noted that the band would return to New Haven in October. Sitting on an amp barefoot and with his guitar, Gagne along with Fuschia provided the only instrumentals, but the vocal harmonies of Gagne, Clement and Holtz were instruments unto themselves, sweet and soaring but never overpowering, each tune like a short New England town gothic story. In the tradition of such luminous New England-based acts such as The Low Anthem and The Huntress and Holder of Hands, this band added another layer to the region’s folk roots. It was not hard to imagine them at any festival providing the soundtrack to a day of shared joy and friendship. The band interacted lovingly throughout their set and was well received by the audience. The music made this reporter eager to explore the band’s whole catalogue as well as look forward to the new release.
New Haven’s own Glambat was the final act of the evening and filled the room with sound and smiles. “Songwriting is my thing,” Rose said before her set. She had been solo for quite a while but had then decided more recently to put together the band, which tonight included Kyle MacKinnel on guitar — “he has an experimental approach which I’m excited about,” said Rose — Mike Alderman on bass, Katie Alderman on backup vocals, and Loren Poin piloting a drum machine as drummer Carlin Morris was not available tonight. Rose said everyone would eventually be on the new record. “I want to see where everyone fits in, have it different from the live show,” she said. “I also want to have other friends from New Haven involved.”
Friends and family are important to Rose. MacKinnel is her boyfriend and Mike and Katie are her siblings, facts she announced from the stage more than once with a smile. It was kind of hard to not smile back during Glambat’s set. The band was fun and fiery with songs full of fuzzy guitar, sweet beats, dreamy harmonies, and witty, frank, and smart lyrics. When Rose announced “this song is about ass,” many laughed. But then she proceeded to sing the song “Andy,” which begins with the line “Andy is an ass man, not a titty man, he’s pretty man.”
“See, I told you,” she said between lines, which received more laughter. But the song took a deeper dive later on: “Just because I’m not bored of you in fifteen minutes doesn’t mean it’s love / gestures in material things apologize for not being enough / you can’t change / you’re crushing everything, a bull in a china shop.” The audience loved every minute of it, and the band loved them back. Rose thanked everyone many times over, including her band, Burnet, Dalton, and Footings, as well as Three Sheets and sound woman Sara, her gratitude as palpably endearing as her performance and music.
“Friends coming in and helping you with your music, they’re all so talented and sweet. That makes it a loving process,” she had told me earlier. “It’s not about having the best band, it’s about having a good time and doing something you’re proud of.”
Footings continues their tour this weekend and dates can be found at their bandcamp and Facebook pages. Glambat’s next live dates at Three Sheets and Cafe Nine can also be found on their Bandcamp and Facebook pages.