Playing a much-anticipated sold out homecoming gig in support of their first record, Long Island’s Lemon Twigs brought chops and flair way beyond their years last Tuesday night (2-21-17) at Bowery Ballroom in Manhattan.
Fronted by brothers Brian and Michael D’Addario of Hicksville (pictured above), the band delivered a stunning 70-minute set that was accompanied by enthusiastic sing-along support from the age-diverse crowd.
A blend of glam, Who-like anthem-making and a touch of R and B, the Twigs are a wildly talented quartet that excel in the live setting way more than what you hear on their debut LP (recorded by the great Jonathan Rado in Los Angeles).
The first half of the set, older brother Brian stood at center stage with guitar while Michael played drums. Brian’s songs tilt more to the croon, They better incorporate the harmonies of keyboard player Danny Ayala who has great high end vocal range.
The two brothers switched places midway through. Michael’s songs are uplifting; a bit more straight ahead rock and roll with great guitar lines and catchy lyrics. Michael is also more showman, with leg kicks, prances and prowls. He leans back on the jam and explores all parts of the stage. When he’s drumming, he’s constantly twirling his sticks like Moonie used to do.
Said to be 20 and 18 respectively, Brian and Michael brought out their father Ronnie D’Addario early in the show to play Ronnie’s number Love Stepped Out. Ronnie has a large body of musical work and the sons say he heavily influenced their interest in music.
Both sons had significant stints as child actors which likely explains their comfort level with an audience on hand.
As I stood there watching them, I tried to recall if I’d ever seen such strong command in the delivery of a live performance from people so young. I have not.
On most tunes, both brothers and Ayala are all singing. It’s when they’re melding these vocals so wonderfully, you start thinking Beatles.
Bassist Megan Zeankowski is the only band member without a microphone in front of her. Most of the band’s footage I’d seen prior to the Bowery gig showed Zeankowski to be stone-faced and serious a la Entwistle. But for this show, she was constantly smiling and enjoying a visual back-and-forth with a gaggle of friends standing up front.
The best tune of the night came at the end. The Queen of My School brought a couple of divers from back stage. It was a rousing conclusion.
People were shaking their heads in awe after exiting the gig onto the Bowery going uptown. I overheard a couple of guys debating whether Brian should cede complete lead responsibilities to Michael.
Why worry about stuff like that now? They’re clearly enjoying the public’s warm embrace and seem grounded based on their interview with Cheryl Waters and how they conduct themselves on stage. Their rotating responsibilities make the band more interesting for us – and likely for them too.
What a thrill to see their performance. I’m rooting for them.