The Old Switcheroo…
…in otherwords going to a concert to see a certain band (Fields) and being completely captivated by the other band (Blonde Redhead) instead. I caught both bands at the 930 Club on Sunday night.
I had the chance to catch both bands at Coachella last week but opted to see other options since I already had tickets secured for their DC show. I really wanted to catch opener Fields because their debut album “Everything Last Winter” – hitting stores tomorrow – is the most exciting debut I’ve heard this year. The album is full of sweeping sound and oddly haunting vocals that I just had to check out in a live setting. Blonde Redhead on the other hand have never surpassed the second-tier in my opinion and seeing them was going to be more of a luke-warm bonus.
Much to my surprise (although perhaps an old hand like me should’ve known better) it was the veteran outfit Blonde Redhead that put on the show of shows while the rookies in Fields put on an enjoyable but merely servicable set.
Fields‘ debut is great and I think everyone should buy it. Their live show fell a little short of the mark though as they performed revved up versions of the album that dropped away all their mystery and atmosphere. Fields set was full of guitar wash and energy which made them a fun opening band but didn’t really impress them as being much more than a new pop-guitar band in an already crowded field; their debut album promised so much more. Perhaps with a little more experience under their belt Fields will be pulling-off as effective switcheroo’s as Blonde Redhead did later in the night.
Blonde Redhead have always been one of those bands that produce passable albums maintaining the 4AD sound trademarks (even when they were on T&G) without ever really knocking one out of the park. So I was very surprised to hear the bulk of their new material shredding the place apart last night. Opting for very high-energy numbers with a few siren-songs peppered through-out their set was fantastic. Blonde Redhead have finally come into their own. That beautiful sound nebula that they so expertly craft is finally doing more than just floating in space looking pretty, it’s actually got crackling lightning bolts of energy firing through it to create a sound that is truly dazzling. The trio launched warp-speed through a noisy yet danceable set that recalled the best of MBV meets Stereolab drunk at a party in the Cocteau Twins apartment.
I couldn’t contain the big, spontaneous grin that their music put on my face. As I sit here typing I am listening to their latest album ’23’ and it is by far the most fun release in their catalogue. Good album, great show.
Blonde Redhead- color me surprised.