Friday, July 12, 2013

Perfect Weather for the Summer Sounds of Generationals on Pier 84

When I was in Las Vegas a few weeks ago, I happened upon a store in the Miracle Mile called Art of Music.  Inside, they had some autographed vinyls, but their main draw was signed guitars.  I noticed that most of the instruments were brand new and often from a lower quality manufacturer.  Do you expect me to believe that Bruce Springsteen has ever played a Squier?  I saw what I believe to be the first Squier I've ever seen onstage last night at Pier 84.  The owner was Katie Crutchfield, also known as Waxahatchee, who has received an insane amount of buzz and praise after releasing a record last year. She just dropped the follow-up, Cerulean Salt, the band now expanded to a trio of tatted up Philly hipsters.  With a voice that recalls Zolof's Rachel Minton (I guess that's just how Philadelphia girls sound?), Waxahatchee mananged to sing thirteen songs in just over 35 minutes.  "We're gonna play our bar rock song now," she said, starting up "Magic City Wholesale."  I'm not sure what sort of bars Crutchfield has been going to, but I'd venture to say they have $2 PBRs and allow cats.  The horn from a departing Circle Line boat the next pier over sounded loudly at its end.  "They're telling us to be quiet," joked Crutchfield.  If that was their intent, it was only to silence the other band members, who might as well have been playing in a high school talent show.  The musicianship on songs like "Brother Bryan" was just too monotonously simple to add anything to Katie's words.  Although a nice jangling groove accompanied "Grass Stain"'s noteworthy lyrics, Crutchfield was at her best when she was alone, even if that meant the bassist and drummer had to wait there awkwardly.  I'm not so sure I get the hype, but I feel like if Katie had performed solo, my review may have been different.

Sallie Ford & the Sound Outside were up next, opening with the surf rock instrumental, "The Eagle Has Landed."  Ford broke a string during the number, and picked up another guitar at the song's end. "Little bit of technical difficulties, but we'll keep goin'," she said with a chuckle. There's a certain innocence about Sallie, with her shy banter and her childlike face behind cat eye glasses, that's offset by her womanly figure.  Looking at her in her short blue dress, you wonder, "Do you think she knows we can see her underwear?"  Then you hear her suggestive, sometimes profane lyrics, and you realize, "Of course she does." She lies, she can raise hell, and she doesn't want any lip from boys, but boys should feel free to take hers.  And she sang all this with a distinctive articulation that went up to a nasal snarl at the end of most lines.  I wasn't even particularly fond of her voice, but the sheer originality of it, coupled with her attitude, won me over.  Shoeless lead guitarist, Jeff Munger, proved a nice foil, with his rockabilly licks and quips in between songs.  Offering up a joke, he said, "How do you know if a hot pepper is being too nosy? It's jalape├▒o business."  When it didn't get quite the laugh he'd expected, he followed, "Obviously you guys have not been drinking as much as I have."  A party boat returned to Pier 83 blaring Serani's "No Games," and Munger shouted, "Turn it up!" "Oh my God," Sallie kept repeating, shocked by their competition.  Munger embraced it, yelling to the boat's passengers, "Why you guys over there?!"  Pulling a cellphone from her purse, Ford explained, "I don't know how many more we have for you 'cause I've gotta check the time."  The band churned out a few more tunes, closing with "Party Kids," which saw Ford playing Munger's guitar with a can of Modelo as she chugged from another.  As with Brittany Howard of Alabama Shakes, it was great witnessing an empowered rock n' roll woman who's not afraid to get dirty.

I was at the sold-out Generationals show at Bowery Ballroom in April, and missed out on buying the Lucky Numbers 7", so this was my chance to remedy that mistake.  Unfortunately, there was no merch available, but I still got a good show from the New Orleans band.  I made a conscious decision in the spring to make Heza one of my go-to summer albums, and I couldn't have wished for better summer weather last evening.  Generationals demonstrated their faith in the new record by opening with "Spinoza" instead of the usual "Ten-Twenty-Ten," and the crowd responded positively.  "Ten" made its appearance after a chill "Say When."  "You Got Me" came next, but this wasn't the maraca-infused encore version from Bowery, but a louder, front-of-the-set kind of deal.  Ted Joyner's vocals seemed to have more treble than normal, but I'm gonna blame the mix on this one.  "Is anyone here from Louisiana?" asked Grant Widmer.  A few cheers punctured the night air.  "There are some of you. I thought I smelled you guys," he jested.  "Okay, this song is for tomorrow," he added before they delved into "Friday I'm in Love."  Placed in the spot where Frank Black's "Headache" had been at Bowery, the Cure cover definitely went over better with the crowd.  Using that momentum, they plunged into fan faves "Put a Light On," "Trust," and "Yours Forever," all of which had the audience bouncing.  To finish off the set, they opened up the power pop ditty "Nobody Could Change Your Mind" to include a final double-guitar attack.  Overall, a great night to be outside listening to music.

WAXAHATCHEE - 07.11.13 - PIER 84 (36 minutes)

Hollow Bedroom / Coast to Coast > Misery Over Dispute / Waiting / Magic City Wholesale / Grass Stain / Tangled Envisioning / Brother Bryan / Lively / Noccalula / Blue pt. II / Peace & Quiet / American Weekend

SALLIE FORD & THE SOUND OUTSIDE - 07.11.13 - PIER 84 (45 minutes)

The Eagle Has Landed / Shivers / Bad Boys / Lip Boy / Devil / They Told Me / Paris / Do Me Right / Fuck That / Lips & Hips / Addicted / Party Kids

GENERATIONALS - 07.11.13 - PIER 84 (50 minutes)

Spinoza / Say When / Ten-Twenty-Ten / You Got Me / Awake / Faces in the Dark / When They Fight, They Fight / Friday I'm in Love / Put a Light On / Trust / Yours Forever / Nobody Could Change Your Mind

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