Saturday, August 12, 2017

Alone Together: Chastity Belt live

CHASTITY BELT
NEVER YOUNG
VELVET JONES, SANTA BARBARA, CA
08 AUGUST, 2017
Waking up from the citywide hangover that constitutes the immediate aftermath of the post-Old Spanish Days/Fiesta madness that envelopes Santa Barbara every year, Chastity Belt rolls into town, like that first restorative Bloody Mary the morning after. With new LP I Used To Spend So Much Time Alone out now on Hardly Art, the band is currently on the West Coast swing of the tour, supported by Never Young. The Oakland quartet set a noisy high bar early on, and proved an eye-opener worth following up on. Their sound gave hints of many different scenes, from classic shoegaze to DC post-hardcore, but remained defiantly their own. Their latest release, last fall's Singles Tape II: Soft Bank EP is out on Father/Daughter Records.

Front-loading hard and barely looking back, Chastity Belt has come a long ways from their formation in Walla Walla, Washington, and eight of the ten songs in their main set were from their newest release, with the remainder coming from their previous, Time To Go Home. It speaks to the strength of the proceedings that they could ignore the ostensible title track of the LP, such was the depth. Underpinned by Annie Truscott's bass, "Caught In A Lie" was an early highlight, and Julia Shapiro took over drums to bring Gretchen Grimm forward for her song "Stuck". Guitarist Lydia Lund took her share of the spotlight on her track "Lydia", and the inclusion of the delicately intense "What The Hell" proved a winner. Shapiro led the jam in an unhinged set closer, "5AM", and the band returned to encore "Joke". After chasing Chastity Belt around this great state, it was a pleasure to welcome them to Santa Barbara.

CHASTITY BELT


NEVER YOUNG

Previous Chastity Belt features:
LA, March '16
LA, May '15
Lancaster CA, October '14

Monday, July 31, 2017

Getting To The Church On Time: Waxahatchee in LA

WAXAHATCHEE
CAYETANA
SNAIL MAIL
REGENT THEATER, LA
29 JULY, 2017
Saturday night marked the return of Waxahatchee to LA, fresh off the release of new LP Out In The Storm, and metaphorically, the title came rudely to life, as the band weathered a blown transmission in their van, and were rescued by tour mates Snail Mail and Cayetana. While the sound may have been a little rough around the edges, and the start a little late, the adrenaline high carried the day, and all three bands more than made their mark. Riding high off of last year's Habit, Baltimore's Snail Mail opened the night with a winning set that turned many a head in the downtown theater. Cayetana filled in the middle, with the Philly trio building their set on new LP, New Kind Of Normal, a May release on their very own Plum Records, culminating in a savage "Bus Ticket", one of the year's best songs. Waxahatchee took the stage, tired but triumphant, and gave their all. Reprising the opening gambit from the Ivy Tripp tour, they opened with Katie Crutchfield front and center, and an almost hymn-like intro, in this case the new "Recite:Remorse", before bashing away. Old favorites were sprinkled in, and the new songs took on a presence even more fiery than the record. The current quintet is indeed, peak Waxahatchee, built up sonically for bigger shows, with twin sister Allison Crutchfield again on board, having finished up touring duties for her solo debut earlier this year. After a grueling day, the stage must have felt like the best kind of welcome home.

SNAIL MAIL

CAYETANA

WAXAHATCHEE
 

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

No Vacation live at SloDoCo

NO VACATION
SLODOCO
SAN LUIS OBISPO, CA
04 JUNE, 2017

Every once in a while, the Venue Gods will smile, and on this Sunday night, no less, we found it fit to tuck into the cozy confines of SloDoCo, AKA the San Luis Obispo Donut Company. Mmmm...donuts. San Francisco's No Vacation was our actual reason for being there. The dream-pop five piece is in the midst of a West Coast tour, both alone and with The Bilinda Butchers. Having spent the afternoon at KCPR, the local campus station, they were immediately on the road to San Diego afterward. The run up to the release of their new EP, (on San Diego's Top Shelf Records), is picking up steam, backed by the pair of singles released so far. First single "Mind Fields", buried late in their set, was a definite high point, with the band's penchant for fake endings giving way to a rocking coda. The back room was filled up for the all-ages gig, and the quintet barely fit the small stage, with range of motion not being up for discussion. They funneled it back into the music, and were sharp all the way through.  In more ways than one, a band to keep an eye on. (simple Bavarian Cream, thanks for asking, and it was delicious...)