Ron Gallo hosted a cosmic celebration for everyone and everything last Tuesday at DC9 Nightclub. His set started with birthday cake for someone wearing an over-sized skull mask. It seemed spontaneous but was so thematically on point for considering his most recent album, Stardust Birthday Party, that it’s possible the giant skull has been traveling the east coast throughout the tour.
Stardust - Ron Gallo’s second album - is a marked departure from his first, Heavy Meta. Stylistically, the same musical influences come through: David Byrne, The Stooges, Minor Threat. The subversive humor is still there too, but now it seems to serve a more positive end. Gallo has referred to the new album as “a spiritual 180” from the anger and frustration of Heavy Meta.
Highlights of the set included “Always Elsewhere,” “Do You Love Your Company,” and “Password,” each of which raises existential questions that are unlikely to be answered if we all continue to stare into our phones for the majority of our waking hours. Gallo’s music shares the same frenetic wavelength of modern life, seemingly catching up with it to say, “Slow down.”
The show’s energy peaked with “Love Supreme (Work Together),” when Gallo’s girlfriend jumped on stage to add backing vocals alongside bandmates, drummer Dylan Sevey, bassist Joe Bisirri, and keyboardist Alex Collier. He closed the set with two of his best from Heavy Meta, “Young Lady, You’re Scaring Me,” “All The Punks Are Domesticated,” and a Sinatra cover, “Somethin’ Stupid.” If you had heard Ron Gallo sing “Somethin’ Stupid” in his Heavy Meta days, you would likely leave thinking that love is impossible and pointless. But now, after his work creating Stardust Birthday Party, it still seems pointless, yet much sweeter. Like love is all there is.
Ron Gallo was joined by fellow Nashville-based acts TWEN and Ian Ferguson. Ferguson’s latest single is “State of Gold.” TWEN’s latest single is “Damsel.”