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Mother Falcon @ World Cafe Live.

January 10, 2014

Mother FalconText and images by Matthew Leister.

Mother Falcon played the upstairs at World Café Live on Wednesday night to largely diverse crowd. It was the first stop on their tour across the Northeast and they drove in from their home, Austin, Texas.

Matt Puckett, a saxophonist who did most of the groups talking, said that they were touring with 16 musicians (there were 15 on stage) and 23 total instruments. The tour van “looks like an episode of hoarders,” chimed in one of the collective.

It is not very often you see an indie group boasting a bassoon player. Is it indie? The press has described this collective as orchestral indie, chamber rock, symphonic pop and an assortment of other adjectives.

To truly understand what Mother Falcon is all about, you have to hear the music. It is unique and it is intense. There is a brass section, a string section, an accordion, a piano, a keyboard, guitars, an upright bass, drums, and percussion. Every member plays an instrument — most members play multiple and they switch often.

Most of the collective also sings which gives off a choral vibe and makes the chamber-group-effect of the music even more apparent.  The two lead singers of the group are Nick Gregg and Claire Puckett.

Gregg plays at least four instruments and has a full-bodied voice. He easily could fit in singing old big band tunes or headlining a Broadway play. It has an operatic quality.

Puckett plays several instruments as well but seems to be most comfortable on the guitar. She is like a volcano waiting to burst, especially when she is left without an instrument. She is poised and almost dainty as the song begins but as the song progresses so does her body language. Her eyes are closed as she sings. She bangs on her chest, stomps her feet, and drums on her lap. Eventually she holds onto her chair as if she is about to be sucked up into the sky by an unknown being.

During the song “Serpent Tongues,” Puckett writhed and shook in her seat in order to escape her chair. The chanting lyrics at the end of the song, “Take, take what you do. Take, take it from you,” built to a crescendo which was personified perfectly on Puckett.

While Gregg felt the music, Puckett was possessed by it. The two members struck a balance and it works for the group.

The group closed on “Pennies,” a fun song with playful background singing and a brass sound that almost belongs in a nightclub scene of a Scorsese film.

The group is extremely talented, the music is original, and the passion is real. Mother Falcon’s second album You Knew was released in May 2013.

Dom La Nena, a Brazilian-born multi-instrumentalist, opened the evening. Her debut album Ela was released in 2013 and she sings in Portuguese, Spanish, and English.

Mother Falcon watched the set from the side of the stage providing an impromptu background chorus for her and even danced like chickens at her request during a samba tune.

Her voice resembles a bossanova siren but her music is based mostly on cello looping and natural electronic soundscapes such as birds chirping. She is a young, charming singer who commanded audience participation.

Highlights included the Spanish language song “Buenos Aires” and a thoughtful cover of The National’s “Start A War.”

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