On an unusually warm March evening in Bushwick, Brooklyn, Sean Bonnette of AJJ fame closed out his Fun & Cool Evening With Sean Bonnette Tour at El Cortez's Safari Room. It was his third night in the tiki-themed bar, having performed two shows in the space towards the start of the tour, and spirits were high. The night also brought out support from punk duo Shellshag, and indie pop performance artist Showtime Goma, as well as some help from special guest Jeff Rosenstock. Shellshag got the crowd warmed up with a set of stripped down and acoustic versions of their tracks, some jokes, and a moment of Shell pardoning himself while sipping on his drink - it turned out that "pineapple is not [his] jam." They also brought Sean up for a song, which would be a recurring theme throughout the night. The duo expressed nothing but gratitude to fans, Sean, and venue staff alike, and their humble attitudes charmed the crowd.
Following Shellshag was Showtime Goma, who fans might recognize as Jen Goma of A Sunny Day in Glasgow and The Pains of Being Pure at Heart. Goma awed the crowd with her incredible performance, beginning the set by lying face down on the stage and beginning to tell a story, with her face turned away from the audience. She alternated between story telling and song, putting every emotion into her art and eventually ending the story in her underwear - it was raw, it was energizing, it was powerful. The story was about finding love, trying to figure out what it all meant, and being burned by others. At least, that was my interpretation.
Closing out the night of course was Sean Bonnette himself. During Shellshag's set, we saw him in regular street clothes - now, he was dressed as a clown. Why? Well, why not? He began by playing a kazoo, of course, and making a loop that played while he proceeded to juggle three tennis balls. His skills were impressive, and the crowd was hooked. He then launched into AJJ favorites both old and new - announcing that a new album will be released maybe, hopefully, next winter. They're still writing the songs and fleshing it out, but from what we've heard so far, we're in for a real treat. Bonnette also had some fun with a few covers, including Sheryl Crow's Strong Enough. There was talk about the northeast's erratic weather, and how moving from a desert to a snowy place back to the desert has prepared him for everything, with some jokes about climate change thrown in for good measure. Later in the set Bonnette introduced the Fun & Cool Band, which consisted of Shellshag and Goma, as well as Brooklyn's beloved Jeff Rosenstock. After Bonnette and Rosenstock brought the set to a close with Big Bird, the fans demanded more - so, Bonnette decided to have some fun with us and play the same song he began with. All in all, it was a very fun night, and Goma gave me the coolest experience I'd had at a concert in a long time.
West coast fans, catch AJJ when they go on tour this Spring with Antarctigo Vespucci, Pllush, and Lisa Prank!