Haerts exhibit promise at former CBGB venue, 313 Bowery

By Francesco Zenati

Via CMJ.com

313 Bowery, former home of Morrison Hotel Gallery and RIFF boutique, became a Patagonia store over the winter. However, the basement of the location is now, what Zach Baron from the Village Voice calls, a “semi-secret ‘Never Open to the Public Performance’ space underneath the old CBGB.” Both Fader and CMJ have both recently held private events in the location.

On Oct. 27, Haerts had their album release show in the old CBGB basement. It was a treat to be able to experience the band’s new album, as well as the location. The invite read, “Please bring a flower for admittance.”

The stairs leading down to the basement were decorated with wilted branches that one had to brush by to pass; they seemed to welcome rather than ward off: a quirk akin to a doorknob that always steals loose threads from your sweater. The basement was organized lengthwise, that is, the stage was at the end of a lengthy, but tight hall. There were dried roses hanging upside down from the beams on the ceiling and more wilted branches encircling structures in the middle of the basement (presumably, structures of support rather than decoration).

Besides certain technical difficulties, Haerts made a very promising display of their sophomore release and first full-length studio album — they released their EP “Hemiplegia” in Fall 2013 — “HAERTS.”

They executed the synth-pop sound very faithfully, but Nini Fabi’s gritty, almost country, voice added a quality that, along with Garrett Lenner’s 12-string guitar, made the group’s sound unique in a genre that prides itself on similitude. Fabi would call collaborators onstage to share in her joy admitting, “the [rest of the band is] so nervous!”

There seemed to be a very loving atmosphere between the band, those involved in the album production, and friends. Fabi, near the end of the set, revealed the secret of the flowers, which was for people to leave their flowers and take someone else’s “as a memory of the night.”

Haerts will be playing Terminal 5 on Nov. 19, to kickoff a nationwide tour.

Francesco Zenati is a staff writer. Email him at music@nyunews.com

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