Photos by Corinne Cummings
Talking Under Water has emerged from the studio, where they recorded their first full-length album, which will be available in April. On Friday, January 13, the five-piece indie rock band performed some of those new songs to a live audience for the first time.
Talking Under Water played to an intimate audience at one of their favorite hometown venues, the Little Theatre Café in Rochester. Situated in Rochester’s East End district, the café is located inside the Little Theatre. This cozy spot seats 70 people, and was relatively full with friends, fans, and café patrons. However, it wasn’t long before it became standing room only, as the theater-going crowd was drawn in by the music.
The set started with a new tune, “Lost,” with singer Dave Chisholm on guitar, Elise Hughey on cello, Sam Thomas on vocals, Matt Bevan-Perkins on drums and Colin Gordon on keyboard. The heartfelt song is typical of the band’s ability to morph elements of rock, jazz, and blues into their own contemporary style.
Chisholm introduced the songs, and talked a little about them. “Rubber Band,” is about distractibility. “Window to Witness” is about having compassion despite differences. And as the name suggests, “5 am” was written on a sleepless morning.
They also played tunes from their EP’s, which are notable not only for the music but also the lyrical storytelling. Chisholm spun a tale of an unrequited love triangle in the anthemic “Tossing and Turning.” In the breathtakingly melancholy “First Act,” Chisholm sang the lines, “You try to breathe her in/ To always have a part of her contained within/ ‘Cause any day she’ll walk away/ You still can’t help it/ It’s a sin.”
The melodies swelled and crested in artful arrangement, as Chisholm sung in his soulful voice and Thomas harmonized. Bevan-Perkins used a small drum kit for this performance, but pulled out some interesting tools like drum brushes. Gordon’s played the keys with heart, but would have had a fuller sound if he had access to a piano. The overall depth of the music was enhanced by the prominent use of the cello. Conservatory-trained cellist Hughey played with equal measures of skill and emotional expression.
A cover of Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space” was also thrown in for fun. The other songs they covered mid-set reflected their musical influences – “Jealous Guy” by John Lennon, “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right” by Bob Dylan, and “Lua” by Bright Eyes. Some more original songs rounded out the two-hour set. On “Hopeful,” the audience was invited to stomp and clap along. The night ended with the final song off the forthcoming album, “If My Body Freezes.”
Talking Under Water’s yet-to-be-titled debut album will be released April 28, 2017. In the meantime, their current body of work can be streamed on Spotify or purchased on Bandcamp or on iTunes. Follow the band on Facebook or Twitter for updates on the album and plans for an album release party.
Set list: Lost, We Used to Dream, Nomad, The Truth, Tossing & Turning, Only the Strong Survive, Days Like Today, Gravity, Window to Witness, Blank Space (Taylor Swift), 5 am, Space, Time Machine, Horizon, Rubber Band, First Act, Jealous Guy (John Lennon), Don’t Think Twice It’s All Right (Bob Dylan) Luna (Bright Eyes), The Boxer, Hopeful, If My Body Freezes