Judith and Holofernes / Vernal Falls
Make-Out Room

April 17, 2005

Review by Matthew Thayer

The Sunday night air on Mission was cold, quiet and filled with a taste of the fog that never quite makes it over the hill. I prayed for mellow as I rounded the corner of 22nd and pushed open the swinging door of the Make Out Room. The chance to hear Portuguese indie folk rock persuaded me out after a long weekend.

First, Vernal Falls was on stage. The soothing sounds of crashing water on the floor of Yosemite Valley is a fitting and appropriate description. Vernal Falls plays a muted version of indie; infusing their music with bits of harmonica and xylophone. Lead singer/guitarist Aaron Gomes, strummed then picked his instrument; his voice strong and clear. The drummer made hushed beats with combination of sticks, mallets and brushes. The unassuming bass held down the low end with a light touch. Aaron also writes the songs, which are best appreciated sitting and listening and this night found the crowd mostly seated. The last three songs, all new, were sent out to Audio Out Send, who were somewhere in the audience.

Judith and Holofernes sat on the lip of the stage and stayed put for their 30 something minute set. A painting of happy snails and a hanging bear rug watched over us. A glowing statue of the Virgin Mother sat center stage on top of an amplifier. J&H play fadocore, a self invented mix of indie rock and fado; a tear inducing traditional music from Portugal which to me sounds a bit like tango. Dos (Chris Da Rosa) sings in a mournful voice that sounds more so when layered in with his guitarra (a 12 string guitar, oud looking instrument). Mark Hobbes, on bass, maintains the low key element that is my Sunday night blessing, but ups the energy for a few fuzzy bars.  Mitch Stitches plays the six string guitar that fills out the mix and gives the music it indie edge.

I prayed for a mellow Sunday and the Virgin Mother answered my prayers. The Make Out Room was the perfect destination for wandering musical curiosity.

Judith and Holofernes just released, Matanca, which can be purchased at shows and through their website. Vernal Falls released Changes of Season, also available on their website.

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