Matt Huston, Colleen Napolitano, Julian Starr, and Mark Smith Open The Rat

Matt Huston

Clad in a crimson White Stripes t-shirt complete with a soaring, peace offering, penguin, Matt Huston climbed upon the stage as the headlining act of the inaugural Rat show of the year, opening with the yet to be recorded pop-rock track “Keeping Quiet.”

Huston paused at the completion of his opening number to announce that the story alluded to by Colleen Napolitano, the opening act, was in fact true.

“Colleen is right,” said Huston.  “We did make a pact to play new songs tonight.  The only person who’s heard this one is my mom, her and my dog.  It’s called ‘In Disguise’.”

It’s well-known that Huston is a Radiohead fan and “In Disguise” definitely takes a page out of Thom Yorke’s song book.  When I close my eyes and listen to the video I am instantly transported to a dreary Oxfordshire, England flat in 1993, with a leaky rain cloud outside a tiny bedroom window, and a lonely musician sitting in the corner, his only friend, a Stratocaster, strapped to his shoulder, he strums and picks in search of unconventional chord progressions and bridges that work just right.

Huston walked off the stage to the loudest ovation of the evening, rivaled only by the applause bestowed upon White Star City, or, Colleen Napolitano.

Colleen Napolitano a.k.a. White Star City

I loved Napolitano’s set.  There is a beautiful booming energy emitting from her music.  Whether a folky original number or a cover, every song meant something to someone.  And I’ve never heard another musician feel so intently and sing so intensely about their disdain for egg-salad.

Napolitano’s opening salvo, “Manifesto,” is a charismatic anthem about…well, she explains it better:

I mentioned the covers before and what a wide-array of music it was: Arcade Fire’s “Intervention,” “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” accompanied by Dylan Bargteil on guitar and vocals, Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire,” “The Ballad of Love and Hate” from The Avett Brothers, and the greatest gift of her performance, a rocking sing along of Against Me’s “Walking Is Still Honest.”  I can’t fathom how you knew that was my favorite Against Me! songs, Colleen, but I thank you all the same.

Napolitano w/ Bargteil

I’ll name Napolitano’s “RVB” as my favorite tune from her set and I’ll describe it like this: If Zoey Deschanel laid down vocals on Crime As Forgiven By Against Me! instead of Tom Gabel.  You can here that track with few more by White Star City here: http://www.myspace.com/whitestarcity

Mark Smith

I would like to throw a shout out to Mark Smith for opening this event.  He will forever be known as The Rockstar Comic to me.  If you haven’t caught his act DO IT!!!  He has a very sinister, dark comedic view of Pokemon and Viagra, among other things.

Julian Starr on the guitar with Marla Pachter

This cover act’s catalog ranges from Lady Gaga to The Beatles…It was sort of weird and I’m pretty sure Paul McCartney would have a problem with it.  But I don’t.

Starr, quite appropriately, saved the day on “I’m Looking Through You” when Pachter stumbled on the lyrics, showing off his vocal prowess that was cloaked by his counterpart throughout the performance.

The couple’s cover of “I Will Follow You Into The Dark” was probably my favorite, although Pachter did go at this soft spoken track a bit too strongly.  Starr handled the backing vocals on this tune and from what I was able to  hear of the effort, his pipe work would have sufficed as the lead.

Overall, this was not a bad performance.

Setlist:

  1. The Wind (Cat Stevens)
  2. Honey In The Sun (Camera Obscura)
  3. Speechless (Lad Gaga)
  4. I Will Follow You Into The Dark (Death Cab For Cutie)
  5. I’m Looking Through You (The Beatles)
  6. Last Person (Jenny Owen Youngs)

About rote7123

Chris graduated from The College Of New Jersey in May 2011 with a Bachelor Degree in Journalism and Professional Writing, as well as a degree in Communication Studies. He has held down a position in the Asbury Park Press’ Sports Department since September of 2010 and is a contributor to the outlet's Arts & Entertainment section, and has contributed to The Aquarian Weekly all while being the sole operator of Asbury Park's premier music news outlet Speak Into My Good Eye.
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2 Responses to Matt Huston, Colleen Napolitano, Julian Starr, and Mark Smith Open The Rat

  1. Jane says:

    I have no idea how you can be both so pretentious and so boring all at the same time. Good job! You also like to use “very” a lot; the key to a good review is precision and conciseness. These aren’t yet in your wheelhouse. Better luck next time.

    • rote7123 says:

      Hey Jane,

      I’ve received nothing but positive feedback on this blog, so I’m almost glad you wrote this because I needed to be brought back down to Earth. I say almost because your claim is completely unjustified. Maybe I am pretentious and boring, I don’t know, others say different, but maybe they’re just being nice. All I ask is that you provide some proof of my pretentiousness and dull writing. If there is one thing I hate it’s an unsupported argument. So step your game up Jane. Also, I did a word search on “very” and you are right. I did use it too many times. I used it once:

      “He has a very sinister, dark comedic view of Pokemon and Viagra, among other things.”

      And I pride myself on never using the word “very,” so yes, I definitely used it one too many times.

      Hit me back Jane. We’ll discuss things. Hopefully I won’t put you to sleep, but I can’t promise anything.

      Chris

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