Streets of Laredo
are a close-knit band of family and friends who rolled the dice and relocated from their native New Zealand, settling in Brooklyn to pursue their dream. After penning a song for his brother's wedding, Daniel Gibson, along with brother David and sister-in-law Sarah Jane played one show and skipped over the Pacific, landing in Bushwick and gigging as much as they could. It's an experience that colors the narrative of their new album Wild. The title serves as a personal mantra for the band. "If you're going to take a risk, go all in and just give what you're doing your absolute all," Sarah Jane explained. Which is precisely what Streets of Laredo are doing.
The band recently swung by our place for a giddy new NEXT session. Rounding out their sound with a couple American additions, the five piece powered up their amps for this delightful performance of songs from the album. Daniel and Sarah Jane also told us a lot about the roots of the band, the big daring move to the other side of the planet, and the ups and downs that have followed in its wake. "Ordering a bagel was quite tough work at the time," Daniel joked. "But I think it was a good idea...maybe?" Oh it was.
Streets of Laredo is a sing-a-long collision of jangling harmonies, stomping percussion, horns, guitars, and more crazy instruments than you can shake a sampler at.
Founded by close-knit family members Daniel, Dave and Sarahjane Gibson and inspired by the fervour and madness of the 70s folk-rock circuit, the band was born out of trying to escape the mundane everyday working life. Older brother Dave tells the story, Both Dan and I had done the hard yards in bands in New Zealand but we were worn out and a little lost by it all. And broke. I was running this t-shirt company and Dan walks in one day to tell me that hes finished with music and hes gonna go get a real job. All of a sudden my 'big brother instinct kicks in and rather than see this young songwriter throw it all away, I gave him a job doing t-shirt orders, and we started working on demos and writing songs together, pretty much day and night from then on in.
Refining their sound and songs one holiday weekend at a beach house on the New Zealand coast, the Gibsons started to fashion a sound that was equal parts folk storytelling and psychedelic madness. Sonically we wanted to stay true to our long list of influences, but we wanted to screw it up as well - kinda twisty, like Paul Simon on bad acid. With just one home-town show under their belt, a handful of demos and a whole lot of hope, they took the plunge and decided to move halfway around the world. Fast forward to the summer of 2012 and Streets of Laredo in a rehearsal space in Brooklyn NY with a guitar, a drum-machine and no money, trying to figure out what comes next. And what came next was songs, lots of 'em.
Sarahjane describes the feeling, Id never lived overseas before, let alone in a city like New York, so the sense of isolation and homesickness - coupled with excitement and the unknown - was hugely overwhelming. But pretty soon all of these emotions were turning into lyrics and songs that were really about being a brand new immigrant in America. I mean, the only thing we really knew was that wed finally made it to New York, we were making music, and we sure as hell werent about to leave.
Quickly adding fellow countryman Thom Darlow and local Brooklynites Sean McMahon and Andrew McGovern to the mix, this now rambling, multi-instrumental, seven-piece started to craft a dance-inducing mix of vocal hooks, beats and wild sounds that saw the New York music scene embrace them as their own - building a firm reputation in the music halls of Brooklyn and the Lower East Side for playing danceable, crazy songs that kept fans coming back for more - not to mention seeing the band feted as a must-see act at both CMJ and SXSW. Dan sums it up nicely, It all started with the song Girlfriend. We'd started writing that song before we left New Zealand so it had idealistic hints of what we thought this place would be like - but after living in Brooklyn for a while it took on a whole other layer, kinda like a mistress that can be unfaithful and hard to deal with but also a lot of fun - and that kind of informed the writing of what would become our debut record."