Open Windows, an eclectic rock-indie quartet, finished its debut album, Lanterns, in Orlando, Fla. and was looking to relocate to a city where the band could move forward in its endeavors. Since arriving in Asheville a few months ago, a chance vacancy at the Root Bar yielded a surprise first show, a relationship with the Hookah Bar was forged through regular open mic visits, and most recently, a headlining gig at BoBo Gallery set Open Windows' sights on upward motion.
The band's show at BoBo Gallery featured another recent Orlando import, Amy White, a longtime friend of the band and all around solid musician. White played two short sets of breakout originals, startling covers (Elliot Smith, Blind Willie Johnson, Modest Mouse, Led Zeppelin), and performed a few beautiful duets with Open Windows' vocalist and bassist Zaq Suarez.
Open Windows' sets featured songs from the borderline psychedelic rock-folk Lanterns, played articulately, but with a deeper resonance and panache than on the record. "Mockingbird," is a crisp and soulful song with haunting vocals from Suarez and a tight percussion line from Ben Woodward. "You are the Cure" (identified by the band as "sort of our epic song") featured Steve Brett's rich and sonorant vocals and Michael Wheaton's intense guitar work: a climactic end to the first set.
The second set began with "Mere Existence," a delicate acoustic song written and performed solo by Brett. The set advanced with building energy, and presented a few album tracks (like the upbeat, twangy, rock heavy "Sandcastles of the Hermit Crab Kings") and several new songs, written after the band's arrival in North Carolina.
Open Windows' new arrangements showed immense progress in their recent development as a band: They seem to be letting go of a degree of structure and allowing the songs to evolve naturally. In their newer tracks, such as "Strings," the shoegaze and psychedelic influence is evident, and this adds a gritty darkness opposite the polished tracks from Lanterns. "Misty Mountain Tops," a multi-layered instrumental and "Into the Ground," an atonal harmonic jam, are comparable in quality to their other music, though stylistically wider-ranging, possibly a positive influence of the spectrum of music they have been exposed to in Asheville. An encore of a jazzy drum and bass-style song with a strong rhythm line finished off the succinct yet varied show, a survey of what has been and what is to come from this dynamic band.
Learn more about Open Windows at www.myspace.com/openwindowsmusic.
[Freelance writer and photographer Lydia See can be contacted through www.lydiasee.wordpress.com.]