Wednesday night Aaron Phipps played the debut show of his solo project, Junkyard Girls, at Bongo Java’s After Hours Theatre. His sound is bred on the keys and occasional autoharp, but for his live performances he is supported by a full band and backup vocals. Junkyard Girls is dark Baroque pop, add electronics, drop the pop.
Aaron is heavy on the drama (familiar from his days in We are the Wind); his hand gestures and extravagant burst of song accentuate solid piano riffs. Aaron rolled onto stage in ripped tights and red hot pants, a little disheveled androgynous mess, and obviously annoyed at Bongo’s 10:45 curfew. He performed the first three songs under the guise of a mustard and maroon masquerade mask the likes of which are appropriate for a Carnival.
I was expecting a six-song emotionally charged singer-song-writer set, and while I got that, he kept it diversified. Aaron’s third song, “Tell ‘em I sent ya,” which he played with an autoharp on his lap, felt more like a sexy samba than something from a writer’s night in the attic of a coffee shop. Two favorites songs were “Phantosmia,” a macabre tune about love, risk and doom, and its antithesis, “Nice to Know You, Sir,” a light melodic doo-wop-pop song.
Junkyard Girls is working on a record Aaron hopes to release in the coming year. You can catch Junkyard Girls at his next Nashville show at the Springwater on January 14 with Spider Friends. – Victoria Read