Escort – A Bright New Life
New Years Eve Show – Escort and Holiday Mountain @ The Palm Door
New Years Eve festivities in Austin were cancelled due to the ‘cold weather’ but thanks to the genius of the Palm Door, an event space where the Stage used to be on ‘Dirty’ 6th, a quintet of disco saviors, called Escort, were flown in from Brooklyn to usher in 2015 with a Studio 54 themed funky good time. Local pop trio, Holiday Mountain, shared the bill with Escort offering their quirky synthtronica as a palette tickler before the funk was spread on thick by the NYC-based headliner.
Being the first to arrive at a party has it’s benefits, not only do you have first pick of all the hors d’oeuvres (Shoutout to Pink Avocado) and party favor shwag , but you also might catch a sound check and get to mingle with some of the music acts. While not performing that night, local nu-disco and electro-dance DJ Lamda was present for the festivities , while openers Holiday Mountain were mingling with the crowd when at 11 PM they jumped onstage to commence the live music portion of the night.
Laura Patino projects a patchwork of different influences that culminates in a unique and futuristic stage presence and singing style. The lead singer of Holiday Mountain sounds like Gwen Stefani and Buddy Holly had a baby and it speaks the same language as Milla Jololovich in the movie, The 5th Element. Vaguely resembling Karen O and outfitted like a diner waitress from the year 2050, Laura led a riveting opening set with the synth-heavy Holiday Mountain. Bassist and synth player, Bradley Will, and percussionist, Zander Kagle, were both dressed like the party cover-band, The Spazmatics, and resembled them in their nerdy and quirky stage presence.
Holiday Mountain incorporates experimental tempo changes in their heavy pop and dub fusion. Laura uses her vocals as an instrument and oscillates between what sounds like rapping and bizarre vocal coos. While Holiday Mountain’s sound is certainly foreign to your average music listener, and about half the crowd last night wasn’t sure how to react to it, the infectiousness of this band is undeniable and they proved to be a pleasant surprise from the future before we stepped back into the disco-1970’s with Escort.
Typically a 17-piece disco ensemble, Escort, was whittled down to a quintet last night, and although the brass was not as poignant as it would be with an extra ten people playing, the sound and experience was amazing, leaving very little left to be desired. Adeline Michele, lead singer of Escort, might have just walked out of a Vogue magazine photo spread, her beauty is nothing short of jaw-dropping. You could sell out North American tour just having her stand in the middle of the stage silent with no bandmates. However like many like many African-American divas of the 1970’s a la Diana Ross, Grace Jones, and Donna Summer, Adeline also possesses the talent of a world-class singer/performer. It is not exaggeration when I say that Adeline deserves to be in the same company of the divas I just listed, her vocals, bass guitar skills, stage presence, and easy going nature coalesce into becoming one of the rarest gems in the music industry today.
Escort kicked off their set with the their soaring disco hit “Starlight” which originally put them on the radar or many listeners back in 2006. What make Escort special is rather than completely immersing themselves in recreating 1970’s disco, they maintain a contemporary sound that doesn’t feel dated and is welcomed by radio disc jockeys, electro DJs, and fans of purist dance music. As the NYE crowd danced on the lighted floor at the Palm Door, one couldn’t help but hearken back to what a real 1970’s disco must have felt like, and revel in the relic of the past.
2014 had dissipated into the night and the dance floor became more heated as the end of Escort’s set became closer. Hits like “Barbarians” and “Cocaine Blues” had the inebriated crowd letting loose on some hideous dance moves. Uninhibited and entranced by Adeline’s vocals the crowd had fallen in love with the band and they went nuts when the keyboardist, Eugene Cho, pantomimed chopping up and then snorting cocaine off his keyboard.
For the final song of the night, Escort played their most appropriate song for the welcoming of 2015, a song of hope and new beginnings called “ A Bright New Life”. Despite the cold snap that had hit outside, Escort had brought a warmth and a sense of well-being that reverberated throughout the night. Despite what the critics and haters might say, ‘Disco is NOT Dead’, and Escort’s tour campaign in 2015 might just signal it’s revival.