Brooklynite Tom Krell, who goes by How to Dress Well, played in Public Assembly’s front room on June 9, 2012 with Rimar and Babe Rainbow.
The venue, a converted mayonnaise plant, definitely felt like an abandoned factory in the beginning. Both Rimar and Babe Rainbow (aka Cam Reed) played lonely sets to the large, mostly empty room. Rimar had a few interesting beats, but the acoustics were off. He tried to get the crowd moving but never really found a flow. Babe Rainbow’s DJ set was underwhelming. The only really memorable part of it was a slowed down mix of Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe,” which really did nothing but obnoxiously get stuck in your head.
Babe Rainbow and Aaron Read joined Krell for How to Dress Well’s headlining set. The room seemed to have filled in the blink of an eye, packed wall-to-wall with people.
There was no room to dance, but it’s doubtful that anyone would have. How to Dress Well’s music is electronic but it’s definitely not dance music. With bizarre images flashing on a screen behind him, Krell almost disappeared.
Even when he wasn’t hidden beneath the shadows of the room, he melted into the music. His incredible falsetto took an intense hold on the room. Krell used two microphones, one thick with reverb and a dry one with no effects. He sometimes sang into both, surprisingly with no feedback.
Despite the presence of his band, Krell seemed to prefer standing alone on the stage. He did a handful of songs completely a cappella. It was striking how much he bared his soul, both with and without music, in front of a room full of people. Few performers ever reach that level of completely giving themselves to a bunch of strangers.
He performed most of How to Dress Well’s debut album, Love Remains, and the new song “Ocean Floor for Everything.” At the end of one of his shows, you might find yourself completely lost. It’s a disorienting, but inviting, look into Krell’s soul, as well as your own.