Bess Rogers joined Harper Blynn at the Tin Angel on May 30 to celebrate the kick off of the band’s album release tour for their second full-length, “Busy Hands.”
A fellow Brooklyn-based member of the Secret Road music family (the licensing/management company behind many other bands including Ingrid Michaelson, The Civil Wars, Allie Moss and Rachel Yamagata), Bess Rogers is no stranger to the Philadelphia area or the Tin Angel. Accompanied this time by musician Chris Kuffner, Rogers played a short opening set of some of the strongest tracks off her newest full-length, “Out of the Ocean,” released last October. The relentlessly ukulele-driven stunner “Standing Tall” and Rogers’ self-proclaimed mermaid love song, “In The Waves” showed off her talents as a musician, while thoughtful songs like “Brick By Brick” and the rarely performed “The Fittest” highlighted Rogers as a lyricist.
Additionally, Rogers displayed her golden touch when it comes to covers, adding Tom Petty’s “Won’t Back Down,” to her repertoire of successful, if unexpected updates, which already included “Pour Some Sugar On Me” by Def Leppard and “Do You Realize” by the Flaming Lips.
Still busy promoting “Out of the Ocean,” Rogers has just announced a show at The Saint in Asbury Park, NJ for August 17.
With the recent release of “Busy Hands,” fans of Harper Blynn can expect a slight departure from the rock groove of 2010’s “Loneliest Generation,” and a more high-energy show with a smoother sound all around as the band matures. Vocalists Pete Harper and Philadelphia native, J. Blynn, lead the small four-piece band with a big sound, filled out by bassist Whynot Javensveld (yes, that’s his real name) and drummer Sarab Singh.
But the guys showed they haven’t forgotten their rock roots, with the blowout-the-speakers-chorus of the album’s namesake track, “Busy Hands, Empty Hearts” and the sunny, boardwalk-ready intro-hook of “Summer in Exile.”
Other standouts from the set included Harper Blynn’s charming salute to imperfect relationships, “Come Home To Me” and the band’s hilarious, but entirely awesome cover of Beyonce’s recent hit “Halo.” The band also showed they don’t need to be Beyonce to produce a Top 40 ready dance jam, closing the show with the adrenaline-injected “Models/Dancers” off their 2010 EP “Harper Blynn.”
Harper Blynn will continue their tour promoting “Busy Hands,” which can be downloaded for free in its entirety from the band’s website. Stops include a date at Toronto’s popular North By Northeast Festival on June 16, before wrapping up in Los Angeles on July 1.