October 16, 2012

Photos: How To Dress Well, o F F Love & Libraries

[All photos © Giancarlo D'Alessandro]
Last Friday night Wilmington had the awesome pleasure of How To Dress Well performing at the Soapbox along with o F F Love and Wilmington favorites Libraries. I could go on for days about how poor promotion lead to only 30 or so people showing up, but it would be futile and instead I'd rather highlight the better moments of the evening.

[Libraries' Justin & Tommy say based prayers with their live VJ, Jacob]
Libraries kicked things off with their highly-danceable electronic soul jams. As always, hearing "The Sky" live warms my soul a bit, especially when noticing new additions to the song as the duo continue to ready their debut LP with Grip Tapes. Every time I catch these guys live I'm reminded that Wilmington certainly does have it diamonds in the rough.

Next on the stage was o F F Love. He began his set with hardly and ado, confusing a few of the 10 people who had bothered to gather around the stage at this point. As his sparse, piano driven, robotic R&B kicked into full gear some folks started to pay attention. Maybe the yin yang mask scared some of 'em though, as about half the attendees remained about 20 feet from the stage, hovering near the bar. I am without doubt that his off-kilter way of presenting emotion left many in awe by the end of his set however, as afterward I heard several folks talking of how uncomfortably touching the songs were.

Last to take the stage was How To Dress Well. I've been talking to Tom Krell on the internet for over three years now, and it was only after o F F Love's set that we actually got our first real face-to-face encounter. It was great to finally chat IRL for a moment with a guy who released one the most touching records I've heard in 2010. After chatting I went downstairs for a cigarette, and then came back upstairs to hear Tom telling the crowd he'd begin as soon as I got back. I let him know I was there and he gave some silly excuses about being sick before launching into a song with his voice as full and beautiful as ever. Chills went through my spine as he moved through singles from both Love Remains and the recently released Total Loss. He also shifted at one point into his rendition of R. Kelly's "I Wish", breaking the hearts of the aware and dropping the jaws of every person in the building. Everyone in attendance had completely melted by the end of the set, and as the night winded down and folks finished scooping up merch, we headed back home for a bit of bowling before bed.

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