Concert Review: Tapestries and Friends Rock Askew

Coming in hot on a nylon string guitar, Rafay Rashid opened an evening of local music at Askew in Providence with familiar tunes from his garage pop outfit, Ravi Shavi. “Seasons” and “Heavy Bones” kicked off the setlist but a stripped-down version of fan favorite, “Accidental,” set the tone for the night, quickly bringing together a crowd of familiar faces and lucky passersby.

Rashid brought funk to his acoustic guitar which is no easy task while wielding the raw creativity of his band into a solo set, which as he mentioned, is a “vulnerable spot” for him. Rashid closed his set alongside Mike DeCosta of Tapestries with a song titled “Circuit City,” the offspring of an upcoming project between the two artists.

Probably the coolest thing to come out of Lincoln, RI since like, ever, Austin Hevey and the Heavies have been making music for almost a decade. They released an album in June called Glad It’s Night, which is not only a great album title, but also an album that flawlessly translates to the live show.

It’s hard to put a pin in these guys. Over a seven song setlist, frontman Austin Hevey, backed by Seamus Sullivan on drums and Mark Mennucci on bass, served soulful and tasty grooves on “Panama Girls,” a ska beat and gritty Brandon Flowers-like vocals on “Garden in the Sun,” and a heavy garage-but-new-wave experience on “Laurie Pt.3”.

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Energy was up, chemistry was tight, and new fans and friends were fully on board and enthusiastic. This did not go unnoticed. Hevey is a man of few words but much gratitude; he graciously thanked the crowd after each song.

“Another Wrong Move,” performed solo by Hevey on a gorgeous Gretsch, quietly ended the set. Really well done. The next time you see this man, buy him a Rolling Rock.

Mike DeCosta and Jeremy Joubert kicked off the third act with the gauzy, sleepy, indie rock that Pawtucket-born Tapestries is known for … and the music people came to hear — and they really wanted to hear it. Between sets Askew had been as raucous as any bar on a Friday night tends to be; with friends and family of the band catching up, folks near the speaker shout-talking over the intermission music, and that one really loud and friendly guy was being super loud and friendly.

It was your garden variety bar crowd — but when the haunting and spacey “Mama Mary” began, the mood completely changed. You could feel it. Occasionally the clink of one pool ball off another would remind you where you were but after just few minutes the songs were supported by total silence.

DeCosta and Joubert were joined by Matt Jones on guitar and Kyle Stumpe on drums and skillfully played their way through an array of tracks, including the slick and achy “Eye Contact” and perennial folk favorite “Hal T Richmond,” which is truly “the reason I’m here.” DeCosta wailed on vocals and his father’s guitar on a couple tracks which was very touching, considering his father’s attendance at the show.

Highlights of the set included Austin Hevey joining the band for “Abominable” and a perfectly distorted version of psychedelic pop band Tommy James and the Shondell’s 1969 song “Crimson and Clover” — a cover that had strangers slow dancing with one another and the guy in back of me belting: “Let the soothing sounds of Tapestries win you over.” Easy enough, friend.