Concentus Music, a London-based live music and digital media company founded by NYU freshman Vidisha Jain in 2015, celebrated its two-year anniversary on March 8 with its first show in New York City at The Delancey. Four emerging artists performed, taking the audience from chilled-out ballads to head-banging indie rock numbers in one diverse showcase.
The night opened with Brooklyn-based blues and soul musician Maggie McCloskey, who goes by the stage name Linnie Joan Funk. She performed several original pieces accompanied by an electric guitarist, including a playful, stripped-back cover of Outkast’s “Hey Ya” that had the whole audience singing along. She performed her original song “Happy Days” next, demonstrating an impressive range from funkier, upbeat pieces to soulful ballads.
LJ Funk will record her debut EP in Nashville this April and plans to expand her sound with a full band in the near future.
LJ Funk was followed by four-piece Philadelphia-based band Former Belle. Frontman and guitarist Bruno Catrambone crooned verses about love and loss that drew the audience into the band’s performance, and his sardonic stage presence got the audience laughing between songs as well. But the moments that really drew the crowd in were the band’s intense, dazed and guitar-heavy interludes. Originally an indie folk band — complete with an upright bass and violin — this performance showcased the group’s evolution.
Former Belle is currently writing new music and playing shows that highlight its new sound and songs off its most recent EP “Foreign Bed.”
Up next was Republic of Wolves, a five-piece indie rock band from Long Island. The group started from indie folk roots but soon shifted to a heavier sound, as demonstrated by the group’s dynamic performance. Light and haunting verses gave way to a rich soundscape of distorted guitar riffs and screamed vocals.
Frontman and guitarist Mason Maggio carried the audience through the band’s poignant, melancholy lyrics, delivering them either forcefully or with restraint to capture the nuances of each verse. He often traded verses with keyboardist Billy Duprey and guitarist Christian Van Deurs. Each voice lent a new character to the band’s complex sound.
Republic of Wolves will release its new song “Birdless Cage” on John Nolan’s “Music for Everyone: A Compilation to Benefit the ACLU” on March 30.
The final performance of the night was headliner and Tisch alum Becca Gastfriend, known by the moniker Beccs, a Brooklyn-based alternative soul musician. She notably won The Deli Magazine’s NYC’s Artist of the Month this past December, and her single “Therapy” made it to the semifinals of the International Songwriting Competition 2016.
She took the stage in her flower-patterned pants and platform shoes, enrapturing the audience with her swaying hips, playful lyrics and heartfelt performance. Her vocals ranged from delicate to powerhouse over the course of her set, drawing the audience close with themes of feminism, mental health awareness and inclusion.
Perhaps the most notable part of Beccs’ set was her connection with the audience. She was absolutely at ease on stage, even jumping down to join the audience for her finale.
“I think that’s what gives me that kind of life energy on stage — being able to gauge how my music is affecting people,” Gastfriend said.
Beccs released her debut EP Unfounded Beauty in September 2016 and will continue to perform around the city.
A version of this article appeared in the Monday, March 20 print edition.
Email Emilia Yu at [email protected]