Live Music Review //
YAWNi / Haunt The House / George Hakkila /
Marie Carroll x Autumn Asbridge / Neonach

October 21st, 2023
at Willimantic Records, Willimantic CT

Additional photos can be found in an album on Facebook here :::

It had been a little while since we were last at Willimantic Records.  The September FIM show ended up earlier than expected and so we missed that.   But while planning to be at the October FIM show, this show just happened to come up a week before so it means going to Willimantic Records two Saturdays in a row but that's never a bad thing.  It's especially worth it to go out of your way to see these musicians.

This show started with Neonach, who was a duo at this time.   When I previously saw Neonach at Grey Matter Books it was a solo set but this one featured another percussion who played a small amount of percussion and handled some singing.  Neonach is improvisational, ambient, sometimes droning sometimes trippy and just an overall sound that can fill up the room and beyond.  The way this music sets the atmosphere just really resonates.

Marie Carroll was joined by Autumn Asbridge on flute for the second set.   Marie Carroll continues to fascinate and amaze people with the koto bass, which it feels like every time someone has to ask what it is (and, yes, one time it was me) and it's just such a large instrument in size but also it creates these sounds which can resemble other instruments but not fully so you get this original sound that feels so soothing but also suspenseful.

I have previously seen Autumn Asbridge with Trance Macabre and so this was a duet I never knew I needed but the two sounds just went so well together.  Sometimes one instrument would take a break, giving the other a solo, but then it would come right back in.  They somehow ended at the same time, but only about thirteen minutes in, so after feeling like it was over they did a seven minute encore for about a twenty minute set which was just lovely.  

The third set of this show featured George Hakkila, who I hadn't seen since back when he played here with Moving Targets.   Everyone had these very concise sets of twenty minutes or so.   George Hakkila played what felt like eight or ten songs, but his songs are short so they didn't really go on for too long either.   It's this upbeat kind of folk way which really kind of shifted the energy in the record store.

The first two artists were both instrumental and somewhat droning at times while improvised (though they could also bring the chaos)   Having that singing while strumming the acoustic guitar felt like flipping a switch in contrast, and so it was nice to see the pacing of the show change.  I fully believe music should provide variety and it can be obtained in this modern scene so when it does happen I'm happy for it.

Following George Hakkila was Haunt The House who also played an acoustic guitar while singing.   One song featured a harmonica, but in contrast to George Hakkila, Haunt The House was slower, more prodding like Jeff Buckley or Chris Isaac.   Haunt The House just had such a great melody, while somewhat dark (hence the haunted part of the name) but also such a beautiful voice, singing about divorces, wedding vows and his late brother.

The afternoon was closed out by YAWNi who played perhaps the loudest set of the day.   Musically, YAWNi just has this rock n roll soul with beautiful vocals coming through that seemed to captivate the audience.   There was melody, there were guitar solos and it overall just had this sound that I imagine someone walking by hearing and it pulling them in.   On recording, YAWNi can have more of a full band sound but even in a solo capacity the underlying magic in this music remains.  

One of my favorite parts about this show was just the way the music sounded between Neonach, who played first, and YAWNi, who closed out the show.  No two artists sounded the same and I really feel like that was intentional but it was also just something I'd like to see more of at shows.  But, when you go to Willimantic Records for a show, yes, it is the time of year to see some great foliage, but the music is always right on.  

YAWNi can be found on Bandcamp here :::

Haunt The House can be found on Bandcamp here :::

George Hakkila can be found on Instagram here :::

Marie Carroll can be found on Bandcamp here :::

Neonach can be found on Bandcamp here :::

Willimantic Records can be found on Facebook here :::


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