Sky Ferreira at A & R Bar Thursday Photo by Lauren Farias
My little brother has down syndrome. He loves music of all types. But his defaults are Miley Cyrus, Taylor Swift, Katy Perry and Lady Gaga. Because he likes female pop singers, I played him Sky Ferreira a while back. My logic was that he could watch a burgeoning pop artist before she got big. He loved it. We went and saw the Venice Beach born/Brooklyn singer play with How to Dress Well at the end of March at the Basement. I visited him the next day and he was watching Sky’s video for “Everything is Embarrassing.” It was cute because he gave the computer a kiss. I noticed on line that she had been at “Party City” by the Carriage Place Cinemark Movies around the same time and I thought about posting a missed connection for my little brother. I did not because fan fiction is creepy even if it’s harmless. But when I found out that Sky Ferreira was playing the A & R Bar with the Smith Westerns Thursday, I got permission from his dad to take him out. His Bible study was out for Thanksgiving break so everything was kosher. I was happy to see Chicago indie-rock band Smith Westerns play before Sky. Smith Western’s live sound has a broader dynamic than you might have gathered from their albums. Don’t get me wrong the sound resembled the indie darling's records but everything had more punch. Lead singer/guitarist Cullen Omori and company plowed through CD102.5 favorite “Varsity” off Smith Western’s latest album on Mom & Pop Records with the complete confidence the lyric such as “I always had to win” would imply. On stage, Smith Western harness the uptempo carefree feel of their recordings but give you a little more. The rhythm section has a glam and garage-y stomp, and the melodies possess an almost doo-wop feel with an Anglo-Beatles underpinning. It’s still light in that Brit-pop sort of way but it delivers a skinny, but toned muscle. I will say that “Best Friend” reminds me of the Commodores “Easy Like Sunday Morning.” if that song was more airy than soulful. My little brother bopped his head but stayed at the bar drinking Diet Cokes. Smith Westerns was more my speed than his. Sky Ferriera’s band set-up before she came out in a manner that conveyed the idea that they were a synth band with a model/actress as a lead singer. Which of course they are. Someone who looked like Sky’s boyfriend Zachary Cole Smith from Diiv came out with a video camera to tape as Sky took the stage. There was a brief moment of darkness, and Sky Ferreira launched into “Boys” off her latest album “Night Time/My Time.” Sky and her synth player rocked red and black flannels with Jackets over them which gave them a unified front. The synth player was wearing a leather jacket with a Crass logo drawn on the back. Sky wore a blue varsity letterman’s jacket that said “Chillicothe Majorette” on the back which gave the show a sublime, seemingly personal aura like a Halloween Ghost showed up at this year’s Pumpkin Festival. I must say, the first time I saw Sky Ferreira, I felt like it was a little too pop and polished for my particular tastes. This time around it was less model and more feel of the actress that sung “I Will Always Love You” during a funeral for a young man who had overdosed on heroin in the gritty 2010 indie film Putty Hill that Mathew Porterfield directed. (Side note: Mathew Porterfield received the Wexner Center’s 2012/2013 Residency Award. The Wexner also premiered Porterfield’s new film “I Used To Be Darker” Friday.) Smoke machines emanated while a Suicide meets Blondie edge gave Sky’s presence an electric angst that was not present the last time I saw her. My little brother stood against the side gates and loved every moment of it. The show reached a climax, with “You Are Not The One” and finished off with “Everything is Embarrassing.” Sky disappeared as soon as the song was over. The crowd stood at full attention and devotion for an encore but it was almost as if David Blaine had made her vanish. After the crowd filtered out, a blonde lady dressed in a different attire reappeared and linked up with her band. I suppose she might be rehearsing for stardom. If my little brother and I are going to watch her again, we will be seeing her open for Miley Cyrus on April 13th at the Schottenstein Center as part of Miley’s “Bangerz” tour. My little brother left the show super happy and he grew up on Hannah Montana so....

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