LIVE FROM NEW YORK: Pastele, Benatton, Jay Saint & Flawless



In lieu of Mailbag Monday this week, I'd like to share my experience at Studio 9G in Midtown Chelsea last Thursday, attending a truly well-balanced live showcase featuring four promising indie artists (including party trio Benatton, pop/R&B solo star Jay Saint and established rapper Flawless) that was headed up by one of my favorite popstars-in-training Pastele. Please continue sending in your tunes in to me for future Music Mondays via submissions@melismaticblog.com or via my SoundCloud DropBox.

Pastele, whose single "Tabletops" was among my Top 40 Fave Cuts of 2011, performed both acoustically and with a DJ & two dancers, opening and closing the night and debuting a few new never-before heard songs including her upcoming single. As she put it, art inspires music and music inspires art, and that was the theme of the night.


The West Arts Chelsea Building is very industrial with a myriad of small, square "studios". High up on the ninth floor was where this "Intimate Evening With Pastele (& Special Guests)" was hosted. The small room was adorned with artwork by Pastele herself (who also doubles as a student at New York's Fashion Institute of Technology in addition to being a budding recording artist) on all four walls of Studio 9G.

Pastele, performing live to a background of her own artwork. Photo is property of Melismatic.

Pastele, dressed in printed pink leggings, a silver tank top & a silver sequins shrug with brown boots, her blonde hair complete with her new trademark stripe of blue, opened the show acoustically with a guitar accompaniment, performing a cover version of Katy Perry's most recent hit "The One That Got Away" along with a new ballad from her upcoming EP, set for tentative release to iTunes in February, called "You're Worth It."

She then handed the stage over to fellow New Jersey-ians in the trio of Parlay, ToNe & Jay Suarez, better known as Benatton, a fun party troupe full of charisma and one-line lyrical jokes, who instantly shot the energy level way up high with their Moby meets Beastie Boys meets Far East Movement vibe. The opened with their original cut "Maple Syrup" (click here to listen to it now), followed by another called "Can I Get A $5 Regular Please?" set to the tune of Phoenix's "1901". They closed their set with an original lyrical remix of the most obvious for their genre -- LMFAO's "Party Rock Anthem" -- complete with live shuffle choreography by all three group-members. The studio dubs of the latter two cuts are available for streaming at their PodOMatic account. Benatton got the whole crowd moving and smiling, and it was clear the night was off to a good start.

The mic was then passed to another Jersey native Jay Saint, a solo performer a la Jason DeRulo or Taio Cruz, and his troupe of scantily clad dancers, who performed two songs. Most impressive was the dance jam "Boom Boom Vroom" complete with slick choreography and a hook that was instantly stuck in your head. This was followed up by the key single, "Good Feeling," from Jay Saint's upcoming mixtape project, Amour Et La Guerre. The video for the song was just released a few days prior to the showcase, which you can watch here. The stage presence eminating from Jay Saint was really tangible, and that coupled with catchy, immediately radio-friendly tunes was really exciting. In fact, Jay Saint is currently a Top 10 Finalist for Akon's Hitlab Emerging Artist Competition, with the grand prize being signage to Akon's label. It's incredible exposure, so if you like what you hear, take a second and vote for him (in his words, "click on the guy with the hat and the jacket with the red inside").

Photo is property of Melismatic.
After Jay, Pastele returned to the stage, this time with two dancers by her side. After singing a bit of her debut hype single "Young & 'N Love" (which you can still snag for free at her official website, along with her cover of Gym Class Heroes' "Stereo Hearts") acapella, she kept the momentum going with her minimalist, attitude-drenched cut "Step 2 This" (video coming soon!), complete with street step dancing. She followed that up with the never-before-heard upcoming single "Comin' With Me", also off her upcoming EP with a music video release also scheduled for sometime in mid-to-late February. The song is perfect for the dance/club crowd and is easily her best yet! I can't wait to hear the finished studio version!

Next was a one-off impromtu duet performance with Pastele and rapper Flawless, whom she'd also performed with at a prior gig at the Knitting Factory (the two covered the Jessie J/B.o.B. collab "Price Tag"). The two performed Flawless' single  "L.I.E.", which originally featured Amy of YouTube-turned-national phenomenon Karmin. What starts off as a perfectly enjoyable urban dance jam switches gears during the bridge into surprise dubstep territory (isn't that the best kind?). The positive reaction was instantaneous. Both the original version and the dubstep-infused remix are availabe for download at iTunes and both are highly recommended by moi.

Pastele then closed the night with another acoustic cover, this time of Bruno Mars' "It Will Rain". Her voice really shined here, especially in the falcetto melismas.

Overall, the night was beyond fulfilling to finally see Pastele perform live (one former Candy Coated Chaos member down, two to go!), but it had the surprise added bonus of being introduced to three other awesome artists for the price of one. You can't beat that! I'll definitely be keeping up with all four as time goes on. For more info on all the artists involved, check out the links below!

Pastele -> Official Site | Facebook | Twitter
Benatton -> ReverbNation | Facebook | Twitter
Jay Saint -> Official Site | Facebook | Twitter
Flawless -> Official Site | Facebook | Twitter

You can also check out my interview with Pastele (then known as Pasquelina) from last March here.

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