By Cathleen Leitch
Daybreak, a weekly radio show on 107.7 The Bronc had its first musical guest on April 2. Tara Elliott and The Red Velvets, a New York area band, came in for an interview and played two live sets.
Kristen Pesce, an elementary education and journalism major, and Jessica Maiuro, an English major, host the radio show every Friday. The music played ranges from pop-rock to alternative and hits whatever the hosts want in between.
So why have The Red Velvets on when its sound has been described as punk/garage? Maiuro had the opportunity to see the band at a bar in New York not long ago.
“I loved how real they were,” she said.
She added that she liked the “dominant female rocker” presence of the lead singer.
After “friending” Tara Elliott on Facebook, Maiuro mentioned her radio show. Elliott was happy to do a live show.
“It just sort of came together after that,” Pesce said.
Tara Elliott and The Red Velvets has made its name known in the New York/New Jersey area, appearing on the Vinny Vella television show and playing gigs throughout both states. The name was chosen for its textile feel and the band even released its EP on red velvet material.
The trio is made up of guitar-playing lead singer Tara Elliot, bass-strumming back up vocalist Jeff Phillips and singing drummer Werner Wilding.
Maiuro fell in love with the band the first time she went to a show but was really moved by one song, “Take The Time.” This song is one of the band’s softer hits about telling those you love how you feel.
The band released a self-titled live EP last year and a new album is in the works. The group is currently writing and working on a song that will be a “love letter to the human race,” as Elliott put it.
Maiuro mentioned that seeing the band was like seeing a show, which is exactly what the band wants.
“You have to put on a show today,” Elliott said.
This philosophy has helped the band stand out. Its live shows are full of theatrics: Burlesque dancers perform during an interlude and the lead singer often wears red velvet outfits she has designed.
After the interview, the trio played a three-song set. Aggressive beats and loud vocals set the tone of the band’s style. The music was heavy on the drums, strong intros and long exits.
Elliott’s vocals were a contradiction: aggressive but soothing. Big, emotional belts of sound filled the studio and were backed by almost too loud instruments. It was clear the members had been playing their instruments for years.
With its “really powerful vocals,” as stated by Pesce, and strong, fast-paced music, Tara Elliott and The Red Velvets should be around for a while.
The group is the house band at Otto’s Shrunken Head in New York City every Saturday night, throughout the New Jersey and New York areas. It will be doing a show on April 16 with Jersey Shore Rolling Girls and Inked Up Angels at The Saint in Asbury Park.
For tour dates or to listen to the band’s music, go to: www.myspace.com/taraelliottblues or find them on Facebook.