Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Torres - Palehound -- Rock'n'Roll Hotel - Jan 19 2016

Palehound - From the fertile ground of Massachusetts comes this trio featuring bass, drums and guitar and vocals of Ellen Kempner. She leads the band in a sort of folk based rock with a deep melancholy and slight psyche vibe that is often tugs on New England musicians. The band is smart and restrained although they can ratchet up the noise and pace when the fire is stoked. And these dynamics are the key for success here. There is likely a lot deep within this music lyrically, but I would have to study the record more for that, as that is not fully evident in the live experience; especially with these delicate and sometimes overly breathy vocals. Arty and precious? No, not too much. This band has enough bite and creativity to warrant further study. And a large crowd gave them a lot more quiet attentive listening than most crowds would, so they are clearly connecting with these fine songs.
photo: Nick Helderman

Torres - It is nice to see follow up on a band I predicted great things for and to see some of the great things starting to happen. This DC9 show was about 3 years ago and I clearly felt there was something excellent happening then that had me both perplexed and enchanted. Tonight, there was even more going on as Torres has full command of the delivery of these excellent songs. There are two guitars, drums, and keyboards like before with bass notes coming from keys, although there is much more atmospheric moves from the keyboardist along with her stellar supporting vocals. The two female vocals work together to push and pull on the dreamy vocal style, but stretch it steadily into tougher territory, while not losing the emotional connection. The music is rich and sumptuous and they can even manage a creative droning style that still retains a pop melody at the core of the song. It finally hit me later in the set just how much this band reminded me of Siouxsie and the Banshees, a band I dearly loved and not too many bands can sound like. But with the tribal thump in a few of the songs, the soaring vocals and creative music that was lush but always with an underlying edge, it reminded me of just how much we needed the Banshees back in the day. But in this day and age, Torres is the band to take notice of. They filled the room tonight, so plenty of people are already on board. I will consider this band a must see every time they come to town.

Photo grab of the night: 2/3 of Red era King Crimson photographed as Robert Fripp and John Wetton meet for coffee. Get Mr. Bruford in and let the music rip.

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