Friday, February 6, 2015

See Me

Have you ever had the perfect concert experience? Doors are early, the opening band is great, you can see the whole stage, your favorite beer is on tap, and the headliner plays the obscure b-side you hoped against hope they would? Ok. Now allow me to one-up you.

Are you familiar with The Wild Honey Pie? They’re a music blog/video production company based out of Brooklyn, and several times a year they organize group trips with a twist. Two months ago I was lucky enough to attend their second annual On The Mountain, a snow & music extravaganza held at a ski resort in Vermont. It took place over three days, and was attended by roughly 70 strangers, 6 bands, and TWHP production team. Think all the camaraderie of the Real World, with the activity and travel component of Road Rules. I guess it could best be described as the Read World/Road Rules Challenge of Music, minus the challenges. (Though, skiing was a real challenge for some. Hi Nick.) Over the course of the weekend, in addition to sloping, drinking, and hot tubbing, guests got to sit in on live sessions from each of the bands present. Yeah, it was as cool as it sounds.

But we’re here to talk about the perfect concert, and I’m not going to be a generalizing cheat who claims a whole weekend as her one moment. That perfect moment—singular—came the first night of the trip, when Tei Shi performed in a candelit, wood-paneled room, in front of a roaring fire. The audience sat on blankets on the floor and held votive candles. If you’re thinking “This sounds campy,” remember we were literally at adult summer winter camp. And besides, it made for beautiful ambiance. But all that setup would have been for naught had Tei Shi not been such an able performer.

Tei Shi was an act I had heard of but neglected to explore on account of broad generalizations I’ve made regarding a certain style of hyped, female-fronted mellolectro1 outfits. You know what they say about assume(ptions). The R&B-influenced instrumentation and fuzzy production does feel familiar, but her beautiful, unaffected soprano sets her apart from the pack. While many of her peers rely heavily on auto tune and vocal effects—resulting in lackluster live performances—Tei Shi shone in a stripped down environment, showcasing a vocal purity that only comes from a mature understanding of one’s instrument and respect of its limitations. Nothing in Tei Shi’s music feels forced: it’s like a warm blanket covering you on a snowy night. To be able to experience that in such a close, intimate space was truly the perfect musical package.

Check out a recording of said session below, and be sure to explore the rest of TWHP’s On The Mountain footage. There are some gems. You can get Tei Shi’s debut EP here, and keep an eye out for her in the future.

1. [Term trademarked by me, just now.]