There are some parallels, naturally, when comparing the effects of alcohol on one’s New Year’s Eve to the effects of watching a two-hour set from local folksy-jazz singers. Both leave you feeling warm, relaxed and perhaps, with the former, a little disoriented. But it took a special palette to appreciate the deeper notes of Devon Sproule and Paul Curreri during the pair’s New Year’s Eve gig at Gravity Lounge.
A family affair: Matt and Paul Curreri look on while Devon Sproule invites 2009 to “Stop By Anytime” on New Year’s Eve at Gravity Lounge.
Sproule’s voice, like the glass of white wine that sat on the chair next to her during the show’s six-song beginning, was sometimes smooth, sometimes pointed, but always delightful. Wearing a black vintage dress, sequined shrug and silver flats that she’d borrowed from a friend (a different look from her usual unfettered, casual garb), Sproule shimmered onstage through three songs from Keep Your Silver Shined, and three others, including “Don’t Hurry for Heaven.” Watching Sproule sing also meant feeling Sproule sing: Eyes closed, jaw wiggling, she invited the audience to experience, not just hear, her lyrics along with her.
It was the introduction of Curreri, though, that got the show off to its real start. The pair played Sproule’s “Stop By Anytime” before she exited and Curreri began his own solo set. Where Sproule was delicate and soft, Curreri (like his glass of red) was confident and gruff. His smile, beneath a scruffy mustache, was boyish with a glimmer of mischief. His voice, louder than Sproule’s, held its notes and then teasingly backed away. His banter—“How was your year? I hope it was good. Mine was good. …Still rich. Been keeping it under the bed. …I was right all along”—was all charm and flirtation.
Eventually the two met onstage again to play five songs together, including a very sexy cover from reggae band Black Uhuru (“Sponji Reggae”). In fact, watching the two of them onstage felt a bit like crashing their private party instead of letting them kick-start ours. And when Curreri’s younger brother Matt joined the couple for two songs and their Devon-heavy encore (the boys played bongos and tambourine while Sproule sang because, as Curreri said, they didn’t have much to do with the song until the end), the effect on the show was curiously like the mystery liquid (Champagne? White wine?) in the small bottle he carried onstage: a welcome, refreshing surprise.
The audience could have listened to them all night. And, had there been the time, they probably would have let us. Maybe they didn’t even know we were there.