REVIEW: The Record Company Rocks Brooklyn

LA-based rockers The Record Company returned to NYC for the second time in about 6 months on Monday night, this time to play an intimate show at Brooklyn’s Music Hall of Williamsburg, playing about a dozen songs – including a nod to the Beastie Boys, who got their start a few blocks from the venue – and erased any sign of the Monday blues before departing. We’ve been itching to see these guys for a while, and man, they were worth the wait. I’ve gotta talk about the opener, though, because they blew me away.

That opener would be the husband-wife duo of Smooth Hound Smith all the way from Nashville, TN, who play a mix of blues, folk, country and a little southern rock. They’re essentially a one-man band, with Zack Smith handling, well, everything, and Caitlin Doyle on vocals. It’s gotta be said, I’ve never had that much fun watching an opening act who played to about 50 people. Smooth Hound Smith won’t make it to the big time as they’re currently comprised, but that doesn’t mean anything. They’re out there touring and putting on a great show, and the kind of music they play and the vibes they send out from the stage are enough to make anyone forget they had four more days of work ahead of them.

Add to that the fact that they’re both super talented, and you’ve got something pretty special that’s worth catching if they come through your city. I don’t dance, I headbang, but Smooth Hound Smith had me groovin’ and dancing a little and that says a lot about their music. You just can’t listen to them and not be happy. They’re absolutely worth checkin’ out, go listen to their music, buy their CD and see them if you have a chance. You won’t be sorry.

Smooth Hound Smith opening up for The Record Company at Music Hall of Williamsburg

Quick set change and it was time for The Record Company to come out and rock out. I’ve been a fan basically since the first time I heard their music and missed their show in October at Bowery Ballroom, so it was nice to be able to make it out to see them this time around and hear 15 solid tunes from the blues-based rockers. One of the perks of being in the music media business is that I get to go to a bunch of shows, and The Record Company puts on one everybody should make an effort to see.

If you’ve never listened to The Record Company, they’re a little different than a traditional rock n roll band, mixing in elements from blues to create something that isn’t quite rock n roll, but not quite southern rock, and what that mix results in is a unique sound to go along with a high energy level. Of course, the boys do slow it down a bit for three acoustic numbers – Crooked CityI’m Changing and Big River – but they jumped right back into the hard stuff with Lonely and a hat tip to the late, great MCA – Adam Yauch of the legendary Beastie Boys – with a southern rock rendition of So What’cha Want. I’ve gotta say, as a massive Beastie Boys fan, it’s definitely weird hearing their music done in any other form than hip-hop, and I’m not sure it will ever work any other way. Still, it’s a nice tip of the cap by The Record Company to a group who hailed from just down the road and influenced a generation.

It wouldn’t be a Record Company show without Off The Ground, the number that sort of put them on the map and got a bunch of people to listen to their music, myself included. The only surprise was that they closed with In The Mood as the encore, which was a great way to end a night full of good music. One of the things I love about The Record Company is that they’re not trying to do anything that’s already been done and just get by on what’s popular. As a result, they play relatively small venues, and the intimacy that comes with the territory is something I genuinely enjoy as it makes for much more audience participation – including the obligatory jerk yelling “Free Bird”.

The Record Company are an outstanding live act worthy of larger venues, and the way to do our part as music lovers to make that a reality is by going out and seeing these guys so they can do larger tours and fill larger venues. If you’re not listening to them, you should start. If you are listening to them, go see them. Spend your hard-earned money on a show when they come to your town, support the band, and help get them to the next level. Check out our photo gallery by Sean Murphy below, with the full set list after that.

The Record Company slow it down with an acoustic number at Music Hall of Williamburg in Brooklyn, NY