Southern singer Angelica Garcia gets The Saint to sway to her bluesy sounds


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Blues singer Angelica Garcia’s microphone stand had orange flowers climbing up it and a sound that came out of it that I can only describe as chilling at her show last week in Asbury Park. Garcia, or Virginia, started her show at The Saint with no lights, all by herself with a looper pedal.

There was a fabricated sensation of invisible choirs, where every new line was like a new voice. The voices stacked and grew with dynamics that made audience members transcend from the New Jersey bar. Garcia’s wonderfully blissful opener was rightfully called “Pray,” likely influenced by her step-father who is a minister.

But “Pray” was only a minuscule fraction of what Garcia was capable of that night.

Her band joined her on stage, and attendees were introduced to a culmination of sounds unlike the rest.

The next show stopper was a song called “Orange Flower,” which told a story of a relationship stuck in limbo — cordial but fearfully motionless. The song complements the story so amazingly well that you forget where you are and become deeply involved and painfully empathic.

The full band accompanies the beginning of the song with head rocking musical stabs. The musicians expressed their collective enthusiasm with every note.

Garcia’s music has a quality that made everyone in The Saint want to dance. Every beat's folky and characteristically southern sound was coupled by the hard-hitting drums and bass, creating a body-swaying, happy, alt-rock bliss.

Garcia grew up listening to folk, country, blues and ultimately finding her way into rock. The culmination of influences results in a product similar to The White Stripes. It’s distorted just enough, but in the end it is still a result of twisted bluesy instrumentation.

These bluesy ballads with purposeful and perfectly twisted vocal fry brought listeners figuratively outside the venue. As soon as the organ came in with its wobbly harmonic dense tones, and the bass and drums built on stage, the musical synthesis had a heavenly effect.

The song “Valentina in the Moonlight” was where the lyrical nature of Garcia’s music really began to take people’s breaths away. The song is not self-reflective, but instead tells the story Garcia first heard in Mexico of two lovers. A man climbed on a rooftop to see his lover, but while he screamed her name and professing his love, he lost his footing.

“And the heart it doesn’t lead us to safety, but now more than ever, it knows what’s best for me."

As incredible as the story was, the crowd never once stopped swaying — even to this masochistic love waltz.

The new music off of Garcia’s new album “Medicine for Birds” encompasses last week’s experience at The Saint to almost the same level of wonder as being there first hand. Garcia and her band don’t play around the tri-state area often, but are worth putting on your radar for a fusion of blues and alt-rock sounds. Listen and enjoy, and if the stars align and you have a chance to see this band, I even suggest seizing the opportunity.


Kai Kiernan

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