Caroline Rose at the Crêpe Place – Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Caroline Rose at the Crepe Place

Caroline Rose at the Crepe Place


Still working on catching up to my concert review backlog here. Going back to February 27, I saw a phenomenal show headlining Caroline Rose, supported by Superet. I found out about Caroline Rose maybe a year ago. Caroline Rose’s latest album, 2018’s Loner, serves up a snarky critique of cultural/intellectual monotony (More of the Same), sexism (Bikini) and consumerism (Money). However, the album is also dripping with very heartfelt tales of breakups (Getting to Me) and self-doubt (Cry!). Her latest batch of songs not only come straight from the heart, but they’re wrapped in smart, punchy electro-pop sound that is unique and inventive. So it was a no-brainer to catch her show at Santa Cruz’ intimate Crêpe Place.

Opening band Superet is a 5-piece band with a big rock/pop sound. They are from LA and I like this band a lot. Overall they were very tight and rocking. The songs were appealing but not predictable – there were interesting changes and breaks which I like to see in a new band. The lead singer had a good voice and was quite charismatic. He was not afraid to “work it” a bit and show some emotion. I got kind of a Culture Club hit from some of the songs. I feel like these guys have some real potential and were, in short, a fine opening act.

Caroline Rose has a sincere quality I find very appealing. She previously put out an album of rootsy folk songs called I Will Not Be Afraid. I Will Not Be Afraid is very good album, but Rose did not play any songs from that record. As the story goes, she has re-invented herself as more of an electronic rock/pop artist. Her latest album, 2018’s Loner is a mix of indy rock and synth pop that has been compared to Le Tigre. Nevertheless, behind all the cleverness and bravado there is vulnerability – a combination I find irresistable.

The set list seemed to consist of pretty much everything from the new album, Loner. There was nothing from the first album. About halfway through their set, Rose and band ripped into a cover of Britney’s Toxic “I’d like to do a number by my queen – all of our queen…” The band is really tight, and they are having a good time. She joked about the venue “we’re playing in a restaurant? where they serve crêpes?” but did not hold back anything in her performance, despite having the audience right up on her as we were.

All I can say is that Rose and band have great songs, are ripping musicians, and put on a fine show. Go check out her music and catch the live show if you can!

Superet at the Crepe Place

Superet at the Crepe Place

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Sadie Dupuis Poetry Reading at Subrosa – January 29, 2019

Sadie Dupuis reading at Subrosa

Sadie Dupuis reading at Subrosa

You may recall from my last post dated February 6, 2019, I caught my first performance at anarchist collective Subrosa featuring Horrible/Adorable. I was back at Subrosa a few days later for an evening of poetry. The big draw for me was Sadie Dupuis, of Speedy Ortiz fame, who has been doing readings in support of her new collection Mouthguard. To be honest, I hadn’t been to a poetry reading in decades, but I really liked it. Hearing the words read aloud really brings them to life in a way that reading them doesn’t.

There was an intimate group of 20 gathered in the ‘Anarchist Library’ for this evening of poetry. Chestina Craig was the first poet to read, and her poems were very personal, dealing with personal trauma and natural beauty. Her poems were lovely and very moving. The second poet was Jason LaCour, who had more of a hip hop poetry style. Jason has a very beautiful energy, and his poems ranged from political rants to self encouragement and parenthood.

Finally Sadie was up to bat. Now I have been a fan of Sadie since my first Speedy Ortiz show back in 2015 or so. I think she’s a very cool human and a great musician. She also has a great, resonant voice, and I could probably be happy listening to her read a restaurant menu. But lo and behold she’s a genius poet as well! The poems in Mouthguard are smart, sometimes clever, but they also cut to the quick with a sudden turn of phrase. These mostly short poems appear to be referential, yet the words are sliced on the diagonal leavings things a bit open to interpretation. In short, my kind of poem.

If you get the chance to catch one of Sadie’s readings, I highly recommend it, as I do this fine collection of poems.

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Horrible/Adorable, Suzie True and Chelsea Jones at Subrosa

Merch Table at Subrosa

Merch Table at Subrosa

Tonight (Jan. 25, 2019) I am going to anarchist collective Subrosa in Santa Cruz to see Horrible/Adorable and some other bands. Kind of an early show on a Friday night. I park in our “secret” lot off Chestnut street. It is maybe a half mile from Subrosa, but I think a little walk would be good for me before the show. I have a couple of puffs of ganja after I’m safely parked.

As I walk to the venue thoughts are racing through my brain. Weed has a way of doing that to me. I have mixed feelings about going to shows alone – especially tiny venues where I can’t really blend into the crowd. Then I think about how nobody really knows what they’re doing, and we’re all in this together, and who really gives a fuck.

Subrosa is further away than I think. I keep thinking it’s going to be the next street, and finally I have to open up Google maps like a dork to find the place which I have probably walked past 100 times. But there it is at last. I later learned that this little bunch of organizations are collectively part of something called The Hub or Santa Cruz Hub for Sustainable Living. It is a non-profit that includes a bike church and some other good things and, obviously, Subrosa.

There is a kind of outdoor sitting area, a festive merch table, and a woman at a table who is taking donations. I pay my $7 suggested donation and gathered a little intelligence. I learned that I missed the first band, Art Sick, a late addition to the bill. There were still 3 bands to come and I definitely did not miss Horrible/Adorable.

Eventually I hear the sound of amplified music coming from inside the venue, so it’s time to go in. Subrosa is not much bigger than my living room, and my living room is not that big. Behind the stage is a sign proclaiming “Anarchist Library” and it is indeed full of books. There is another display off to the side with 100s of zines. I will say I really like this place, and its earnestness.

Anyway, the first performer turns out to be none other than donation-taking girl who turns out to be Chelsea Jones. Just Chelsea on vocals and playing her electric guitar. She is loud, raw and quite compelling. Musically it borders on the primitive, but she’s honest and emotional, and not afraid to take chances musically and vocally. It was a very promising opening act.

Next up is Suzie True from Los Angeles. They are a 3-piece power trio and they came to rock and possibly break your heart. They had a pure, stripped-down sound, with good hooks, and well constructed songs that kept my interest for the duration. I would see them again in a heartbeat, and was bummed they had no tapes or cds.

Horrible/Adorable was down from Oakland, California, and this was their first time performing in Santa Cruz. I had seen them open for Ian Sweet back in 2017, and honestly they were my favorite part of that show. H/A are irreverant, light-hearted, but also totally rocking. And they did not disappoint tonight.

They opened up with Hail Sk8tn’, a tongue in cheek anthem to being a bad girl:

Give me one good reason, why I shouldn’t be a heathen?
I tried to be like you, I did all I could to
You got your God I got my skateboard and my guitar
You’re having kids I’m having whisky at the bar
Call me immature, I guess I’m going to hell, but who fucking cares?

Next song is DMV Dream, also off the Lookin’ Healthy EP. It explores the perils of meeting a cute 16-year old boy in line at the DMV. After the song ended, drummer Candice announced “and she can drive a stick now!” Another highlight was a rousing cover of Fuck and Run off of Liz Phair’s iconic Exile in Guyville album.

The duo has a new EP titled Caprice, and they played at least 3 of the songs, including the title track as well as Penpal and Butthurt. Impossible not to have a smile on your face watching these girls. After the set ended, I waited around for Kristin to wander out to the merch table. I picked up the new EP, and expressed my joy at being able to see their first Santa Cruz show.

Suzie True at Subrosa

Suzie True at Subrosa

Suzie True at Subrosa

Suzie True at Subrosa

Horrible/Adorabe at Subrosa

Horrible/Adorabe at Subrosa

Horrible/Adorabe at Subrosa

Horrible/Adorabe at Subrosa

Zines on Display at Subrosa

Zines on Display at Subrosa

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