Doused in vibrant watercolor lights, Still Woozy transformed The Warfield into a punch-drunk ode to summer — the kind of balmy respite swollen from sap and liquid smooth.
Still Woozy, an alias for Oakland local Sven Eric Gamsky, returned to the Bay Area to promote his debut album If This Isn’t Nice, I Don’t Know What Is. The record straddles intimacy and easy listening, a bevy of buoyant tracks buffeted by gentle synths and smooth basslines. The sound, glassy-eyed and spacy, seems cozy in a genre like bedroom pop, but on March 7, Gamsky made The Warfield a house party, dialing up the energy like an ebullient, airy wake-up call.
The show opened with a set from Wallice Hana Watanabe, who performs under the mononym Wallice. Youthful resignation mollified beneath the glamour of pop production, and Wantanabe navigated the stage with ease and natural charisma. “Hey Michael” sparkled with a knife-like edge, her lyrics growing teeth to chew out an all too familiar male manipulator: “You’re the life of the party/ But the party is finally over.” Featuring a lively cover of Nirvana’s “Heart-Shaped Box,” the artist leaned into grunge and spunk. If Wallice’s set evoked a frenzied night out, then Still Woozy was the dream thereafter — loose, lustrous and lysergic.
Gamsky bounced onto the stage, his outfit juggling patterns from the red and blue stripes of his shirt to the checkered squares on his knitted bucket hat. At the back of the stage hung a banner emblazoned with his stage name in fluorescent pink.
Gamsky commanded the stage, his movements jutting and forceful — a tangle of elastic limbs that pushed and pulled like a yo-yo. His sunny energy was infectious, kindling chemistry between the band as the bassist swayed and the drummer bounced in his perch.
Playful and delighted, he turned the venue into his playground. “I know you like my goofy ass, how could you hate that?” he teased in fan-favorite “Window,” wearing a canny smile like a child with a secret.
Adaptability is a subtle yet resolute strength in Still Woozy’s discography. The laid-back ambient tracks are well suited to accompany meandering car rides beneath sand-rimmed streetlights, or to extend invitations to dance over lush synths and a sly backbeat.
On stage, Gamsky firmly planted his music in the latter milieu, frequently inviting the crowd to sing along and groove right with him. “Who wants to shake their butts tonight?” he cheered, quenching the crowd with boyish charm. Even in slow moments, such as “Foolsong,” his hips swayed in an un-self-conscious and ragged motion, seeming to encourage audience members to adopt the same blasé spirit.
Still Woozy’s lyrics take on an otherworldly quality, reimagining liminal spaces with a decidedly optimistic slant. Even the most biting lyrics soften in Gamsky’s good-natured delivery. “I can’t take anymore,” he lilts in “Get By,” an admission absent frustration or ire. The singer’s stage presence shares a similar immutable congeniality, which kept the atmosphere soft and surreal.
As if symbolizing Gamsky’s return, the concert embraced the sweetness of a homecoming, and Still Woozy steered the night to feel invigorating and familiar. Gamsky’s convivial demeanor spun a chrysalis of dreamy indie pop that sculpted the night’s end to feel like metamorphosis, a dissolving dream heralding a brighter morning.