Reviews > Shows
Nightmare River Band at The Delancey
Nightmare River Band
New York, NY
Nightmare River Band played to a minimally crowded room on Thanksgiving Eve Eve at The Delancey. The room provided an appropriate atmosphere for the boozy quartet, and the band wasted no time breaking into the title track from their recently released album, Last Goodbye.
The music started off sweetly with lullaby guitar riffs and soft reflective lyrics, “If I said I won’t miss you, we all know that it would be lies, lies, lies,” and then instantaneously picking up into an eruption of crying la da da da’s and heavy drums. Falling back into the soft opening of the song, the foursome switched back and forth between delicate riffs and desperate cries.
Before starting in on, “Oh Me, Oh My” the guitarist and back-up vocalist, Paul Maddison, screamed out “America!” to the crowd’s delight. NRB has a distinct talent at mixing twangy country guitar with folk/Americana rhythyms. The lead singer, Matt Krahula, emits raspy whines and cries, sounding similar to Conor Oberst with a bit more force. The songs exhibit a genuine heartbreaking quality, which is only amplified by the low-fi and raw nature of the band.
The room began to fill after the third song, and those in attendance held onto one another, swaying to the music. The band’s chemistry was evident as each musician took turns on the microphone and shared amusing band anecdotes, with the sound technician joining in as well.
The 4th song, “Mary,” opened up with heavy country bass lines and guitar licks mimicking a banjo. The drummer tapped on the drum rims and the quartet threw themselves around. The band has been compared to artists like Mumford & Sons and The Avett Brothers, but there’s a punk element to their music that is reminiscent of Against Me and their disaffected story-telling quality is comparable to that of Bright Eyes.
The band asked that the crowd move closer and all obliged, moving inches from the stage. The 7th song of the night was off of their debut album and is easily one of the bands catchiest songs. “Jeffrey Dahmer” had the audience bumping around the room as the band wailed out “can you tell that I’ve been drinking?” and then quickly transitioning into “Walk On” from their sophomore album. The group ended with the perfect song, a slow desperate ballad entitled “Why Don’t You Love Me,” rolling back into the opening song’s la da da da’s. The audience swayed back and forth in time to the beautifully melancholy song.
Nightmare River Band have fantastic rapport on stage, but they also manage to keep the crowd engaged with comical exchanges, clever lyrics and aggressive instrumentals. But NRB is more than just a bar band. Each player is exceedingly talented on their apparatus, and the lead singer’s ability to convey heartbreak, humor, delight and discontentment in a single song is unparalleled.
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