When I arrived at the release show for BRUNT — the latest EP from Everett band LEAVA — the band’s mastermind Simon Nicol was running the doors for the show. This curious and humble greeting was the first of many moments in the evening of July 3, 2016 which highlighted the current strengths of the local music and arts scene.
In the halls leading to the basement performance space, Everett Pop-Up Arts created a small-scale gallery of works from local artist Danielle Deskins, who designed the artwork for LEAVA’s past two releases. This particular juxtaposition of visual and performance arts bridged the gap between the different aspects of a physical musical release in a natural and innovative way.
Opening the time of music was local artist Campion, who took to the front of the basement armed only with an electric guitar. He began a set with a cover of Radiohead’s “Lotus Flower,” followed by two originals. His guitar work was impeccable, and opening with a cover of such a respected band really paid off and demonstrated the musician’s talent and boldness.
After a brief intermission, LEAVA began his brief set. After performing “Feel Safe?” from his debut release Searching Question, Nicol stopped and looked over the room, remarking that he knew everyone there. The sense of community was already evident through the evening, but in this moment it became much more pronounced.
Nicol played a cover two songs from the new EP, alternating between using a backing track and only a guitar. The backing tracks, however, didn’t diminish the depth and skill of Nicol’s musicianship. LEAVA is a mysterious and singular project, so the solo performance matched the mood of the EP better than a full band could. After both sets were completed, the crowd dissipated back into the yard where they had congregated in the hours leading up to the actual performances.
These moments of fellowship were the true centerpiece of the evening. There were many familiar faces from multiple Everett bands, all present to celebrate and support the latest release from their friend. It seems like it would only be possible for a young scene to maintain the boldness, humility, and intimacy on display at this show. But perhaps if the Everett scene continues to build upon this foundation of tightly-knit community, they will be able to continue these special and unique moments into the future.