the secret history played public assembly
    • MONDAY, NOVEMBER 24, 2008

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    Last Thursday at Public Assembly in Williamsburg, The Secret History (the band of former My Favorite singer/songwriter Michael Grace Jr.) unveiled their new Desolation Town E.P. to a packed house of indie die-harders and never-too-early weekenders. What was delivered was a performance that was both intellectual and primitive; danceable, yet emotionally opaque. It was indie-rock to a T, but like any favorite old T-shirt, it was worn in and familiar with room to wiggle.

    New York based The Nouvellas opened up the show, providing a refreshing brand of dualistic female funk pop with a little bit of Aretha Franklin thrown in. Following them was Mahogany, another New York indie outfit who made it their mission to fill the room with Sonic Youth-ish noise with snippets of early-industrial Nine Inch Nails. It was loud, impassioned and relentless.

    The Secret History took the stage with a seven piece outfit that evoked the precision driven undertones of Metric combined with the hauntingly sweet instrumentation of The Arcade Fire. Female vocalists Lisa Ronson and Erin Dermody were not only alarmingly beautiful, but vocally seductive, with melodically whisping voices that gently brushed against your eardrums. Michael Grace Jr. traded lead vocal duties on and off, conducting the unit with his high energy like a well oiled concerto. The clear standout was a dance-y rendition of their first single "It's Not the End of the World, Jonah", which Grace Jr. describes as "a 'lost generation' disco anthem" that caused more than its fair share of sways, handclaps and roses to be thrown onstage. It was a surprisingly appropriate act of celebration befitting both indie veteranship and a rebirthed newness that I don't think we've yet to see the best of. - chris gayomali

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