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Archive for the ‘Union Transfer’ Category

[ATTENDED: April 16, 2018] Waxahatchee

I really enjoyed the newest Waxahatchee album and I was keen on seeing them/her.  Waxahatchee is more or less the work of Katie Crutchfield.

It amused me that I had purchased a ticket for this show and then a few weeks later I got a ticket for Superchunk and their opening band was Swearin’.  One of the lead singers in Swearin’ is Allison Crutchfield, Katie’s sister.  So I’d be seeing both Crutchfield sisters in less than a month.

I also learned recently that Allison usually performs with Katie in Waxahatchee when they tour.  And she did.  So I have seen and heard Allison Crutchfield quite a lot in the last month or so.

They played for an hour and ten minutes.  How do I know this?  Because the guy in front of me filmed the entire show on his phone and I could see the timer at the top.  And not just standing still and filing, he was swooping and angling, zooming in and trying to get every scene.  It was a little creepy to be behind him, I must admit.

Both Katie and Allison called Philadelphia home for a while, so this was a homecoming for them.  Katie said that she wrote most of the new album while in Philly.   (more…)

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[ATTENDED: April 16, 2018] Hurray for the Riff Raff

 I knew of Hurray for the Riff Raff (I love the band name) from a couple of songs, but it wasn’t until their most recent release that I learned that lead singer (and really the constant of the band) Alynda Segarra was not only Puerto Rican (she calls herself Nuyorican) but was active in her commitment to Latino causes.

This commitment is evident on their new album The Navigator which explores many aspects of Puerto Rican culture  and music, but keeps it wrapped in a rocking New York vibe.  Segarra is also a striong feminist, writing songs for an about women.  Her stage presence is a striking combination of “don’t fuck with me” and “I’m going to have a good time.”

Segarra is an excellent front woman. She commands a room and gets everyone involved in her songs.  She told empowering and infuriating stories to introduce the songs which made them even more engaging.

Most of the set came from their new album The Navigator which was great because I love the diversity of the disc.  There were a couple of songs in the middle of the set (which turned out to be older songs I think) that were a little flat musically, but the rest of the set was dynamite. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: April 16, 2018] Bedouine

When I bought the tickets for Waxahatchee I don’t think I knew who Bedouine was.  Then I saw her on NPR and was absolutely struck by her. I don’t really know what it was, something about her singing style I’m sure, but she was mesmerizing.

So I was really excited to see her live.  I didn’t really even know that much about her:

She was born Azniv Korkezian but chose the artist name Bedouine from the Arabic-speaking Bedouin people, who wander the Middle Eastern desert as nomads.  Azniv herself was born in Aleppo, Syria to Armenian parents; she grew up on an American compound in Saudi Arabia. Her family moved to the U.S [when she was] age 10.

Azniv came out on stage with her guitar and a glass of water and an electric candle on a stool.

She began singing and for 30 minutes we were enveloped in a feeling of warmth and good tidings.  Ironically, she herself was cold up on stage (it was pretty chilly that April night) and she had to warm her hands up after almost every song (the electric candle was no help).

Despite fact that she plays a very quiet guitar and her voice never rises above a quiet deepness, and despite the fact that the headliners were noisier bands, she commanded the room.

She had no set list (and no capo, she lamented after a few songs).  She played seven or eight songs including a couple of new ones.  There was even one song that did not have a name yet (she was looking for suggestions).  I’m looking forward to what she picks.

Her style doesn’t deviate all that much between songs, but her lyrics are interesting and there’s her voice–you can hear virtually every breath as she exhales.  It’s really wonderful.  I enjoyed that she has a song called “Nice and Quiet” which sums up her style quite well.

But despite the dark lighting and reasonably serious subject matter, she was fully engaged with us.  I was only two people from the stage and it often felt like she was singing to each of us individually.  She even made some jokes to the audience: “This song is like one beat faster, so hold on to your hats.”

She also thanked us for coming early and listening to songs we didn’t know.  But “Solitary Daughter” drew quite a reaction of familiarity which made her smile.

I don’t have a setlist, but I’m pretty sure she played

  1. You Kill Me
  2. Nice and Quiet
  3. Back to You
  4. Skyline
  5. new song
  6. Solitary Daughter
  7. Dusty Eyes
  8. One of These Days

There’s a fascinating interview with her on World Cafe.  She talks about working as a sound editor for reality TV before she started singing .  It’s fascinating to hear that she worked on: Cutthroat Kitchen; Catfish: The TV Show and The American Baking Competition.  She describes it as a little soul sucking.

Glad she left that life for this one.

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[ATTENDED: April 5, 2018] Screaming Females

It’s ironic, I suppose, that Screaming Females are a band from New Brunswick, NJ (not far from me) who apparently plays (or once played) lots of basement shows and unnamed clubs in that city, but I traveled all the way to Philly to see them for the first time.

I’m not the kind of person who gets invited to secret underground shows, and that’s fine.  I’ll happily see a band in a great venue with a rowdy crowd.

The focus in Screaming Females is centered on Maria Paternoster because she is a stellar guitarist and a compelling singer and front woman.  But we mustn’t forget King Mike Abbate on bass and Jarrett Dougherty on drums who have made up the band since the beginning.  Al three were there in fine roaring form, working like a tight machine. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: April 5, 2018] Thou

I was unfamiliar with Thou before this show.  Reviews were pretty interesting so I was really intrigued to hear them.

Gregory Heaney from All Music wrote “the band’s sound blends the shuddering heaviness of doom with the oppressive atmospherics of black metal, giving the band a monolithic sound that feels, at times, inescapable.”

And nothing could be more accurate.  Thou are loud.  Really loud.  I have seen Sunn O))) who are possibly the loudest band on the planet and Thou was more inescapable.  And I did not find it enjoyable, possibly because I was unprepared.

Musically the band is rather interesting.  They play heavy doom metal, but they have complex (and heavy) chords and riffs–sometimes with the bassist playing counterpoint.  Their riffs were slow, but the notes they played were not always the obvious choice.   (more…)

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[ATTENDED: April 5, 2018] +HIRS+

+HIRS+ (pronounced “heers”) is a collective. According to their website: “We are infinite and never ending. A collective of freaks and faggots that will never stop existing.” But mainly the band is made up of two semi-anonymous individuals, best friends JP on vocals and beats and Esem on guitar.

And their slogan is “LOOKS LIKE HELL. SOUNDS LIKE SHIT. QUEER AS FUCK.”

Incidentally, the band just released their first full length, which is currently streaming on NPR.  It is 14 minutes long–20 songs–and features guest contributions from Laura Jane Grace (Against Me!), Shirley Manson (Garbage), Marissa Paternoster (Screaming Females), Alice Bag and more.

Vice describes their set so aptly:

A quick listen to one of their songs – and it will be quick, as most of their tracks don’t stretch for longer than 30 seconds – will definitely do the trick: Sample from a movie. Heavy blastbeats. Fast and pounding guitar riffs. Screamed, mostly unintelligible vocals. Repeat. If you’re seeing them live, the typical +HIRS+ set will last maybe ten intensely chaotic, fun minutes.

That’s a lot of talk for a set that lasted no more than 15 minutes.  But their set was one of the most incredible things I’ve seen. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: April 4, 2018] Superchunk

I’ve been a fan of Superchunk for what seems like ever.  Their music is reliably punky and poppy.  Fun, sometimes funny, with clever lyrics and always a big hook.

I’ll admit that their music sounds pretty samey, but there is something to be said about that.  After they put out their 2001 album Here’s to Shutting Up, they didn’t exactly go on hiatus, they just kept a low profile for a half a dozen years or so, releasing limited edition records and such.  When they returned in 2007 I realized just how much I’d missed them.

When I saw that they were playing Philly I knew it was time to go see them.

It was really cool that the band was the (nearly) original members: Mac McCaughan of course, Jim Wilbur on guitar (he joined after their first album) and Jon Wurster on drums (he joined after the third album)–they’re both bonafides!  The only one missing was bassist Laura Ballance.  She plays on the albums but because of her hyperacusis, she no longer tours.  So, on bass we had Jason Narducy who has played with anybody who is anybody. (more…)

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