A Silent Film came to the Bowery Ballroom on Sunday night, giving everyone a post-Halloween show that was worthy of being considered a rock concert but still mellow enough to be watched with a hangover. Lead singer Robert Stevenson alternated between piano and guitar depending on the song, sometimes abandoning both completely to stand at the edge of the stage with nothing but a microphone and encourage the crowd to sing with him. Four other band members helped him out, and while it was clear that their music was playing it safe, there were some undeniably catchy tunes thrown into the mix. Those in the audience who were moving around were mostly swaying back and forth politely, until the band launched into “Danny, Dakota & The Wishing Well” and the entire floor started dancing with sheer enthusiasm. Stevenson himself is a real heartthrob – British, with long hair and a sweet demeanor that may explain A Silent Film’s overall reserved performance. This band has no intention of breaking any boundaries or creating a movement (although they did boast an impressive sparkly drum kit); they fit neatly into the indie-pop genre and seem very comfortable there. Their lyrics are of questionable depth, with a lot of “woah-oh-oh”s and even more repetition, the perfect formula for getting a song to stick in people’s heads. What they do offer, however, is plenty of variety in terms of tempo. “Lightning Strike” is another dance-worthy anthem, while something like “Lavender Fields” is acoustic and therefore much more relaxed. A Silent Film closed out their set with a three-song encore, inviting everyone to hang out at the merch table afterward.
Opening up the show was a band known as Flagship, originally from North Carolina. Sirius XM’s Alt Nation has been pioneering their music, evidently giving songs like “I Want You” sufficient enough airtime so that members of the audience actually knew the words. Frontman Drake Margolnick has a voice similar to Rob Thomas of Matchbox Twenty – low, even, but with a little less grit. Drummer Michael Finster played with such boyish zeal that it made you want to believe in everything he did. The smile never left his face, and he was the chattiest member of the group, thanking the audience multiple times and cracking jokes left and right. Playing in support of their latest EP Faded, their sound had a slight surfer rock element to it but it was chock full of all the right things, which manifested itself beautifully onstage. From the bass guitar to the keys, every element simply worked. It’s easy to tell when a band is unabashedly thrilled to be onstage, and Flagship was one of those bands. You’d be hard-pressed not to feel their rush and respond in turn. From the looks of it, they won’t remain an opening act for long.