There’s a lot of movement in a Mothers song; the time signatures change, melodies stop and then start again, most times picking up at a completely different place they left off. The Athens, Georgia-based quartet play busy tunes, and that’s why it’s kind of surreal to watch their audience stand almost motionless, in an almost meditative state, while the mountains of sound cascade around and in between them. Frontwoman Kristine Leschper makes pensive music, and while an impatient person might have zero tolerance for the way the chords and cadences careen into each other, the packed patio seemed perfectly fine letting some of the country’s most promising young musicians work though what’s easily one of the most unique sounds in indie rock.
Drummer Matthew Anderegg is a little bit of a monster. He tuned his tom-tom mid set and turned off his snare wire every now and then, creating rich, unpredictable tones that played less like backing tracks and more like an individual, integral parts of the songs. The whole of the band mostly play disjointed arrangements on stage, but the parts some how add up to songs that are instantly unforgettable. It might have something to with Leschper’s dreary, unpredictable delivery that is at times depressing (in the best way), but always impossible to look away from. She’s a confessional singer with lyrics that are transparent without giving too many specifics away. In her songs, it’s no secret that Leschper is bothered and exploring why.
Just a few blocks from New World, a second night of anti-Trump protests rolled across Seventh Avenue. Times are strange and, right now, the strain and struggle for any kind of comprehension is real. Towards the end of her encore (which she dedicated to the late Leonard Cohen), Leschper turned her back to the audience to work through a few bars of a riff where incompatible tones clashed in soothing, rhythmic passion. By the time she turned back around towards the crowd, tears rolled along her high cheekbones. She's completely unsettled, and while the audience might not ever know what is offending her, Leschper can take solace in knowing that her audience are all a little bit confused, too.
But at least — even for that one moment — they were all lost together.