Ryn plays the Bowery Ballroom to a sold out room of new friends.
The term “millennial” refers to adults reaching young adulthood around the year 2000. Born in the 90’s, millennials are characterized with an iPhone glued to their hand. And selfies. And independence. And individualism. And Instagram. And not knowing what the M in MTV stands for.
And Ryn Weaver, at 22 years old, is among them.
But Ryn is also aware of the social impact of being an uber (and an Uber) connected millennial: among their hundreds of followers and friends and posts, they feel connected but lonely. It’s a converse relationship Ryn addressed head-on during her sold out show on July 26 at the Bowery Ballroom.
“We are the most popular generation,” Ryn Weaver reminded us. “We’ve got all these friends but we don’t have any.” And in a nod to a Catholic mass, Ryn made an interesting show request: “Say hi to two people you’ve never met.”
Being social without social media? But how else could we share Ryn’s amazing performance style?
It’s a style so mesmerizing that you forget there were four guys behind her playing instruments. There’s a reason Ryn Weaver’s recent shows at Coachella and Bonaroo, as well as her being named an MTV artist to watch, are making waves. The Bowery Ballroom is almost too small to contain her (Actually, it was too small to contain her. The show was sold out.) Ryn sings straight for her audience and plays charades with her lyrics: a twist of an imaginary key for “locking the door,” her hands bouncing off her chest to simulate “breathing.” These motions, combined with her impressive physical movement, created a unique body performance. She pivots and lunge, executing a cross between dancing, yoga, and something more exotic as she sings on the floor and reaches out amongst the first row of fans by the stage. She’s timed every kick and every head nod to the beats of her songs. Every time she wiped her towel, every time she nailed a move, every time she danced amongst the fog and the lights of the Bowery, she knew she was a rock star.
She had fans in the palm of her hand (literally). And the only thing the fans had in their hands was their cell phone.
That popular generation of which she is a part of and singing for was filming the whole show, hoping not to miss a thing. For “OctaHate,” fans had one hand on their phone and the other in the air, hitting the beat. Regarding “OctaHate,” Ryn teased “If a friend dragged you to this they probably said listen to this song.” And at her show, they didn’t just listen to it. They captured it too.
Cell phones were out in full force except for two distinct moments: The tunes “Traveling Song” and “New Constellations.”
For both, Ryn prepared introductions for the audience. For those familiar with Ryn and her debut album The Fool, we knew what was coming. “Traveling Song” sounds different from every selection on The Fool. It’s driven by a finger picked guitar, not beats. And it sounds equally as emotional live. As the crowd braced themselves to cry (perhaps an act that required two hands and hence no phone), Ryn hushed the Bowery. The haunting conclusion that is so striking on “Traveling Song,” when Ryn sings alone and undoctored, is repeated live. They both give you shivers.
Before the ending tune of her set, Ryn again prepared us for the song: She told us she was “put in a box all the time” and that we should “blaze our own trail.”
And again, we put down our phones. We finished the song and the show with her, and our new friends, in person.
The lower floor went surprisingly dark.