I was told hearing the Sandpaper Dolls at MEAT would be an unforgettable experience, but I was not prepared for how spectacular it ended up being. I knew the music would be great because I had heard the trio once before at the Rudyard Kipling, so the quality of the music was not a concern.
After walking up and down the front of the Blind Pig, a gastropub at the same address, once or twice trying to figure out where I was going, I finally found the steps on the corner of the building which led up to the entrance of the speakeasy bar, MEAT. Outside there were four people standing around whom I assumed were just taking a smoke, but come to find out the room was already at capacity! Luckily after a few people left I was able to slip in.
When I first entered the building I had to walk down a small corridor where I immediately noticed an artistically hung gallery of meat. The display of curing meat was definitely a bit creepy, but it certainly set the mood for the 1920's atmosphere of the main bar area that I was about to enter. Once I quietly squeezed into the actual bar room I was greeted by dim lighting with old fashioned Klieg lights illuminating the vocal trio, cushy couches and chairs, a beautiful bar, and ambient candle lighting.
On stage Suki Anderson, Rebecca Dennison, and Amber Estes were dressed in all black singing original music that fit the atmosphere perfectly. As listener Mateo Barnett described it, "...the dim and sultry lighting sets a fantastic atmosphere for their well mixed harmonies." Their voices are each unique, blending together jazz and gospel styles in a calming, angelic way that mesmerizes listeners' ears. Their use of rhythm and experimental techniques, such as breathing and tongue clicking, expand their music from well mixed harmonies to also creating a mood or groove in each song. With the enigmatic bar setting, this really was their eeriest show to date. An hour performance was definitely not enough, and hopefully their next show will be longer.
Photos: Courtesy of Anna Blanton