It's always special for us when a band performs in the KEXP studio with a highly anticipated show scheduled for later that evening. In this case, the Brooklyn band Pela was headlining a show we were putting on in Seattle called "John in the Morning at Night," which showcases some of the best local and national acts that I play on the Morning Show. A lot of buzz surrounded that concert for a number of reasons: the chance to hear new material, the fact that the show was going to be a sellout, and the opportunity to check in with energetic Pela frontman Billy McCarthy, who broke his foot jumping off an amplifier the last night he played in town.
At KEXP, Pela put aside its high-voltage stage antics to perform acoustic arrangements of new songs.
Pela opted to not only introduce songs from its upcoming album, but also play them acoustically for their introduction to the public. The band members had stayed up all night putting the set list and song arrangements together, and as they finished preparing in the studio that morning, I could feel the nervous tension. But, just as I expected, the payoff was remarkable.
For those who are tired of bands coming into a studio or getting up on stage and just plugging in and going through the motions, this band and this in-studio session should provide welcome respite. It's a powerful, passionate and emotional performance, without the crutches of voltage or volume.
Originally recorded May 5, 2009. Engineered by James Nixon.
Listen to the previous Favorite Session, or see our full archive.