We arrived fashionably late for the Future Collective show Friday night and missed Wooly Mar's opening. We regret that but we had the bill upside down.
Wooly Mar is Maria Pugnetti, an “intermedia artist” living in Northampton, MA, who has done various musical things through the years, usually described as some kind of folk music. Currently, she's doing her own thing with a fluctuating group of musical collaborators, of whom we heard one, a bass player named Kurt. Armed with a compact array of keyboard, drum machine, effects units, and other gear, she coupled sounds and effects with her own sinuous voice in a way that was frankly mesmerizing and slightly levitational. I don't think I'm exaggerating when I say that this woman was luminous, or as one girl shouted out, “pure magic.”
Wooly Mar's lyrics stream by and at times it's a bit like listening to a surprisingly realistic fairy tale. We are warned of danger, but there are goddesses and forest elves to give us hope. That said, her music is not pretty. The music she constructed in this set had an industrial edge that grounded her squarely in the real world. She even performed a rap, which was cute in itself, but then it turned out to be a really good rap and the audience was hers.
Home Body, also of Northampton, are composed of singer Haley Morgan with Eric Hnatow on keyboards. In contrast to Wooly Mar, who seemed a bit shy, Home Body came out with a show – stage costumes, attitude, singing and dancing, and even a light show, which was impressive in itself. In sooth, they seemed made for a slightly larger arena. Haley Morgan has a big, versatile voice, with a lot of drama and range. I don't really know what she was singing about, but it all felt passionate and important, and people danced.
It's hard having a sound as big as Home Body's with only two people on stage and maybe 35 in the audience. It's harder still when someone accidentally unplugs the sound system just as you reach the climax of your first song. To their credit, they never let on how annoying that had to have been. Someday they'll look back on all this and laugh.
The evening ended with a DJ and more dancing but we wandered off at that point because it was almost 11 o'clock and past our bedtime. Thankfully, most Future Collective shows seem to be from 8-11, making it easy for lazy people like ourselves to attend. More to come, check the Collective's Facebook page for details as they're announced.