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Archive for the ‘Hovvdy’ Category

[ATTENDED: April 28, 2017] Pinegrove

I first heard Pinegrove on NPR and then I saw their Tiny Desk Concert.  I really liked them and when they announced that sales of their online music would send all proceeds to Planned Parenthood, I knew I had to buy their tunes.  I was also swayed by the fact that they are from Montclair, NJ, a town not to far from where I grew up.

They have been getting fairly popular as of late which I think is wonderful.  And I hope that they continue to thrive and get bigger and bigger.  So that when they are opening for someone at Madison Square Garden, I can say I saw them in a church basement with 600 other people (tickets sold out pretty quickly and I saw people were offering their first-born children for a ticket).

I have never been to a concert where the audience knew and loudly sang every word to nearly every song.  By my reckoning, everyone knew every word to every song on Cardinal, their full length debut.  There are 8 songs on it and the band played 7 of them–not in order–during their 16 song set.  In fact when they opened the show with “Old Friends” the first song on the disc, the room erupted singing along to every word.  And since it was such a small place–with particularly low ceilings–it was the loudest singalong I’ve ever heard.  Check out these clips from “Cadmium.”  It was very cool.

Even more cool was how great the band sounded.  I mentioned before how great the sound was. I want to say it sounded great for a church basement but it was great for almost any room–the band sounded big and loud and perfect.  And that’s good because Sarah and I were simply incapable of pushing our way closer to the stage. It was packed, it was 95 degrees in there and while we did buy some water bottles we were not willing to fight the crowd to get closer.  That means that I never really saw the band.  I did see singer Evan Stephens Hall a  few times, and when I held my camera up (there was literally no one behind me) I was able to see more of the band.  That plus the dark panelled room did not encourage good photos.

I was honestly surprised at how hard it was to see the stage given how small the place was, but in fact the basement was pretty long, so I guess it makes sense.

But the overall vibe was so great, it didn’t matter.  There were people in the back by us dancing, there were a few guys singing a long so loud and emphatically pumping their fists to the words.  I was shocked at how much people love this band who literally have one 30 minute album and a new collection of all their old stuff as recorded output (between the 2 discs it’s a total of 29 songs).  It was really a great experience.

And Hall mentioned a few times how unique this was and how memorable the venue was and how the band was clearly excited by how into it we were.  And I can’t help but thing the fed off of that.

For an encore, they joked that they would walk over there for about ten seconds (they had an 11 o’clock curfew and finished with a couple minutes to spare).  Hall talked about the People’s Climate March in DC that the band was going to the next day (and playing in DC that night).

And they encored with “Recycling” (how many songs mention ocelots?) and a totally crowd singing along version of “New Friends.”

I’m told that the band often hangs around and chats and takes pictures, but it was so hot we could not wait to get out of there.  And after the show we went to Shoo Fry for poutine, which was delicious.

I certainly hope they come to another local venue (they’ve been to Philly 3 times in a year).  I’d love it if it was a nice Jersey venue, mind you.  But I would absolutely see them again, hopefully in a venue where I can actually see them!

SETLIST

  1. Old Friends*
  2. Aphasia*
  3. Visiting*
  4. Over My Shoulder
  5. V
  6. Waveform
  7. Angelina
  8. Easy Enough
  9. Cadmium*
  10. Size of the Moon*
  11. Paterson + Leo
  12. Problems
  13. Need 2
  14. The Metronome
  15. Recycling
  16. New Friends*

*from Cardinal

 

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[ATTENDED: April 28, 2017] Hovvdy

I thought that I had heard of Hovvdy (that’s 2 v’s but pronounced “Howdy”), but it’s possible I was thinking of other bands with 2 Vs in their name.  But when I looked up information about this concert, I saw that a lot of people were excited to see them (and that their latest album had been reviewed (positively) by Pitchfork.

We waited in the stifling heart for them to go on–and really should have sacrificed our spot to get water (only $1/bottle a the door!).  Unlike a more “polished” show, where you know that bands will take forever in between sets, this seemed like it would be a pretty quick turn around–the band even came out right away to set up.

Although when all was said and done it was nearly 30 minutes by the time Hovvdy went on.  And boy, did I wish we had taken advantage of the First Unitarian Church’s very generous reentry policy.  Because man, was it hot.  Like unpleasantly hot.

So we stood and sweated and waited for Hovvdy (we didn’t want to give up our semi-decent spot–although truth be told, it was hard to see from just about anywhere).

When the band started I was surprised by how great it sounded.  Birdwing sounded fine, but they must not have been hooked up to the PA, because when Hovvdy’s drummer hit a drum, it was like going from mono to Dolby.

Charlie Martin and Will Taylor are the main force behind Hovvdy (not sure who is who).  They record as a duo.  Each guy sang and played guitar.  From what I can tell Hannah Read (from Lomelda) was on bass.  [Lomelda opened for the show instead of Birdwing in NYC].  And I can’t find the drummer’s name (although all reviews of the band mention that Martin and Taylor were both drummers before they started playing songs on guitar, so I’ll mention it too).

Hovvdy played a kind of noisy lo-fi rock (I see they call it pillowcore).  Both singers’ voices and musical styles were fairly different which kept the music constantly shifting. The rhythm section kept the groove nicely while the two guys (split far apart on the stage) did their thing–sometimes singing backing vocal for the other one.

I found pretty much all of their songs to be catchy–catchy enough to grab their CD on the way out (which is a bit lower key than their live show).  The CD, Taster, had apparently just been released that day (it was download-only previously).

I have no idea what their setlist was as I can;’t find it anywhere, although evidently many of the songs were from Taster.

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[ATTENDED: April 28, 2017] Birdwing

Birdwing opened the show for Hovvdy and Pinegrove.  I wasn’t familiar with their music, but I had listened to a few songs on bandcamp and I was interested to see them live.

This concert was being held at the First Unitarian Church in Philly, which I’d never been to.  I had heard a lot about this venue and the really legendary bands that have played there (usually a few years before becoming legendary).  I was under the impression that the venue’s capacity was like 100 people, but that is clearly not true.  One source suggests that it is closer to 600. So I was surprised by just how large the basement proved to be.

But the one thing that I had heard for sure was that it was hot.  And holy cow was it ever hot.

We went on a mild April evening (temp low 70s) and we arrived a few minutes before Birdwing went on.  By the time they started we were both wet from sweat.  There is virtually no air circulation (the ceiling fans may have been spinning only because of people fanning themselves). (more…)

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