[ATTENDED: August 9, 2016] VoirVoir
VoirVoir was one of the opening bands for The Flaming Lips show I saw at Musikfest last year. Because I mis-estimated the amount of time it would take to get to the show, I missed all but the last few chords of VoirVoir’s set. But I liked what I heard and bought the CD. And then I spent the past year trying to see them again. They’re a local Bethlehem band, so it didn’t seem like it would be that difficult to catch a show.
They’d played a few times in the Bethlehem region but I was never available. And then finally they announced they’d be at Musikfest again. I wasn’t even sure if I could make this one, as we were supposed to come back from vacation that day. But we wound up coming back the night before and I was determined to take a few hours and see the band.
And I came to the realization that I’m glad I missed them for the Flaming Lips because I suspect that that 30 or so minute set in the blazing heat at 6PM paled in comparison to this 90 minute set on a small stage on Main Street. (Although I do have to wonder if they had more room up on the big stage last year).
VoirVoir is a five piece band consisting of drummer Josh Maskornick, bassist Matt Juknevic, keyboardist, xylophonist and lead singer April Smith, lead guitarist and singer Matt Molchany and, playing her last show with the band, Felicia Vee on guitar (she is also the drummer in the band Moonstruck).
It was fun being at a show for a band who I wanted to see and to have the audience be primarily the band’s friends and acquaintances. It was a great atmosphere; the friends knew the songs really well and it seemed to really put the band at ease. It was also unusual to be so proximal close to band–I’m usually fighting to be fourth or fifth from the stage, whereas with this set up I could have literally walked on the stage at any moment.
VoirVoir play a great mix of 90’s alternative rock styles–some noisy feedback, some punky fast songs, some shoegazey mellow sections, but all with interesting lyrics (and great delivery from Molchany and Smith). Here’s a great clip from “I Wanna.”
I really enjoyed watching Juknevic on bass, whose notes don’t simply follow the guitars–he plays some interesting counterpoints. It was fun watching Smith twist keyboard knobs, play the xylophone and sing at the same time. Drummer Maskornick plays a diverse set of styles–wailing away and then pulling back as needed.
Felicia Vee is the most enigmatic member of the band, facing away from the audience for most of the show and more or less playing towards the drummer, it wasn’t always clear what she was playing. But when I switched angles, I could see that she was adding a lot of interesting sounds and layers to the songs.
And then there was front man Molchany. He was having a lot of fun with his friends in the audience and he mocked his band’s name as being unpronounceable. But when it came to playing he was all business. When he soloed he really threw himself into it dancing around the stage and making a holy racket. It was fun to see up close.
Vocally, the band sounded great –Smith and Molchany’s voices work really well together. And musically, their songs are really top-notch. They don’t settle for simple pop configurations, there’s different parts and interweaving slow and loud sections. But the songs are pretty catchy all the way through.
During their 90 minute set they took a brief intermission to get their merch squared away (distributing their Musikfest special release the The Free-p).
I don’t have a set list, but I assume the band played their entire debut album (which you can stream here). I recognized most of the songs, anyhow. I know they played at least one new song (when someone shouted “no new songs,” the band laughed). I also know they played their new song “Sides” twice because the first time they were too exited and played it too fast.
I read that the band hasn’t played outside of the Lehigh Valley area very much. I wish them much success with this album and the one they are currently working on. It’ll be cool to see them on a stage that isn’t in the middle of a street someday.