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Review: Born Cages, BFA @ Union Hall 2.28.14

Born Cages band

Union Hall hosts a plethora of solid performances, and Friday night wasn't any different. The 90-capacity room downstairs is the perfect setting for young artists to cut their teeth. Opening the evening were Brooklyn indie rock band The Lovehowl, and things were going fine until guitarist Alex Sherba managed to break a guitar string during the first song. Frontwoman Amy Sheehan and bassist Jonah Durning-Hammond, along with special guests Edd Matista and Dez Gutierrez respectively banging away at the drums and bongos, broke out in a jam session while Alex fixed his situation. The guitarist quickly rebounded from the incident with some compact riffs. The band was a little out of sync at times musically, but they managed to display sheer honesty in their music. The highlight of the set involved a cover of Steve Wonder's classic "Superstition" with a piece of Sugarhill Gang's "Rapper's Delight" thrown in for good measure.

While indie/powerpop act Bachelors of Fine Art, or simply BFA, hail from New York City, one look at the band might have you fooled into believing they were blokes coming from the U.K. Their sound, however, is very reminiscent to U.K. acts like The Smiths, Badfinger and XTC. With half of the tiny stage covered with keyboards, the band's stage presence was minimal. This didn't halt them from filling the intimate room with infectious melodies that made you wanna dance the night away. In fact, a small group of ladies danced throughout most of the band's set, especially during the track perfectly titled "Ladies Night". While the rest of the crowd stood near the bar in the back, vocalist Will Cole wanted them to join the action. "Move up. We don't bite," said the vocalist, but the crowd still wanted to leave the dancefloor to those energetic ladies.

"This is a song I wrote about penis," joked Born Cages frontman Vlad Holiday before heading into the number "Better Than Me". This was the last local show for the NYC band before heading out to the Savannah Stopover Festival and SXSW Festival. Vlad & Co. have come a long way since their formation back in 2011. Originally known as Electric Sun, Born Cages have performed with Guns n Roses on a couple occasions, had their song "Don't Look Back" featured in Now That's What I Call Music! 45 and recently signed with Washington Square, an imprint of Razor & Tie Records.

With flashing lights planted next to Dave Tantao's drumkit, their live show felt more suited for bigger stages. There aren't a lot of frontmen out there that can shred on the guitar like Vlad; he almost made it seem completely effortless at times. His blistering guitar solo at the end of set opener "Metaphor" could've gone on for the rest of evening. Keyboardist/vocalist Amanda Carl delivered heavenly melodies during the tracks "Rolling Down The Hill" and "Dirty Money", a song which they've somehow avoided playing live. The band even went through a short cover of Ben E. King's "Stand By Me". Ending the set with "Don't Look Back", Vlad decided to put down his guitar, head into the crowd and sing to all of his fans. With their debut album coming out soon, you can expect Born Cages to fill up bigger rooms in the near future.