Cry Babe performs at Sub Rosa collective in Santa Cruz
Today’s mini-review from my concert backlog is Cry Babe, Suzie True, Chaotic Futch & Eve’s Peach at Sub Rosa. Date of this show was January 20, 2020. I mostly showed up to see Suzie True, a DIY trio from Los Angeles that I reviewed in these pages here.
Sub Rosa is a tiny DIY space and half the audience are members of the other bands on the bill. Chaotic Futch had already finished when I got there. Eve’s Peach were up next. I had seen them open up for Diet Cig previously and was not impressed. They were better tonight. They are dorky, but having fun.
Suzie True put on a fun and energetic performance. Suzie True is Lexi McCoy on bass and vox, G Leonardo on guitar and Sarah Pineapple on drums. They are bratty and spunky and fun to see live! They played songs from the 2018 EP Nothing to You, as well as Saddest Girl at the Party which would come out later in 2020. Suzie True is on tour now, so go catch them in person if you can.
Cry Babe was the last band on the bill. Cry Babe’s line up is Anaïs on vox, omnichord and guitar, Madeline on bass and vox and Rose on drums. They were sonically interesting and well worth seeing live. Anaïs had great energy and a gorgeous, soaring voice. I had no idea what the curious electronic instrument that she played was, but have now figured out it was an Omnichord – really a kind of toy instrument with buttons to play chords, and a touch plate to play strings. Anaïs used it to good effect while Madeline and Rose set up throbbing drones on bass and drums. It was reminiscent of Sonic Youth. They no longer seem to be active which is too bad.
Suzie True performs at Sub Rosa collective in Santa Cruz
Hey folks, it’s another review from my backlog. Today’s performance for your consideration is The Aquadolls at the Catalyst Atrium in Santa Cruz. Date of this show was December 11, 2019. The Aquadolls are an adorable and rocking surf punk trio. They do a great, feel good live show. Go see them if you ever get the chance!
Openers Idle Joy were pretty good. Kinda Grateful Dead sound, but tight. And the singer was quite good. Next band, Getaway Dogs, was not so great.
The Aquadolls were pretty much magic from the moment they appeared on stage. The drummer Jackie got us all riled up before the first note. I really like how all three Aquadolls interacted with the crowd, and got a chance to sing.
Guys Who Sk8
Miss World (Hole Cover)
Sick Sad Motherfuck
Communication is Sexy
I’m a star
The Aquadolls were just on point, and cute as bugs. Their energy and presence is so good live. Melissa did most of the singing, but all three sang. Sound was kinda surf punk. They can really rock out but they also have some great slower numbers. The audience showed them a lot of love. There was a cadre of 10 super enthusiastic women up in front that were having a great time, dancing and moshing which energized the performers. Very feel good experience.
Sleater-Kinney is a central band in the Girlbandgeek cannon. They embody all the elements of what I love in a band – powerful, emotional singing, harmony, innovative guitar parts, and urgent, explosive rhythms driven by Janet Weiss’ powerful drumming. The year was 1997, I was living on Hayes St. in San Francisco with my wife Dawn who was pregnant with our first child. I read an article in the SF Bay Guardian which convinced me that I would like Sleater-Kinney. I think I bought Dig Me Out without hearing it. I formed an immediate, strong connection with that album, which is certainly one of my all-time favorites by any band. I played it every day for a year. At work I’d plug my shitty earbuds into my Compaq laptop and pop Dig Me Out into the CD drive. I made a tape so I could play it in the car, you get the idea…
I had missed the Dig Me Out tour, but I was there with bells on for the Hot Rock tour, and pretty much every tour since then to the present day. I’ve seen them maybe 7 times so far. I’m not actually sure who my favorite band is now, but for about two decades I would unhesitatingly say that SK was my favorite band. They had a string of fantastic albums, and their live show was always so explosive, and guaranteed to transport me to my own sonic and spiritual fantasy island.
I do particularly love the “classic” period of Sleater-Kinney from 1997 to 2002. I love all the albums from those years, but the one I reach for most often is probably All Hands on the Bad One. I am a SK loyalist and think all their records have merit. Nevertheless, starting with The Woods and the following, the albums don’t elicit the same feeling of connection and excitement for me as the classic ones.
Anyway, let’s document a few impressions from this concert in November, 2019. Alex and I dined on pizza at a trendy restaurant he wanted to try in Piedmont. From there we head to the venue, the gorgeous Fox Theater in Oakland: one of my favorite venues in the Bay Area. The opening act was KAINA (Kaina Castillo). KAINA is a talented, young pop artist, blending elements of latin and funk. She was quite impressive.She had keyboards/bassist/drummer to accompany her, all quite good. Alex and I both liked the drummer a lot.
KAINA’s set ends, and soon Sleater-Kinney will take the stage. This will be my first time seeing the band with new drummer Angie Boylan, formerly of Aye Nako. Janet Weiss had rather suddenly announced her departure from the band a couple of months before the tour was to begin, citing differences with the current musical direction. I was pretty anxious about how they would sound without Janet’s supple and powerful drumming, but Boylan was up to the challenge. In addition to Boylan, and founding members Corin Tucker and Carrie Brownstein, the lineup included Katie Harkin and Toko Yusuda providing additional guitars, keyboards and vocals.
I only made a few notes about the show. From opening number The Center Cannot Hold, they came out pretty much at full throttle, and did not let up. The new drummer Angie Boylan is fucking great. They played a satisfying set list of newer songs, as well as old favorites. I am a little chagrinned that they did not play my personal favorite live song which is Turn It On – my first Sleater-Kinney concert where Turn It On was not played! But it was a gorgeous and satisfying evening of rock and roll. I’m glad to see that Tucker, Brownstein and band have held on to their passion and ferocity, while exploring new possibilities.
For a similar experience, there is a good YouTube from this tour. Check it out: