Last night I made it out to Music Hall of Williamsburg to catch the Screaming Females with Waxahatchee. Those two bands alone already make up a pretty solid bill, but I was quick to find out it would be a mistake to sell the other two groups short. Overall, it was a night of teeth gnashing, aggressive, noisy punk.
Heaven's Gate kicked things off quickly, tearing into their set with some abrasive feedback before rolling into their first number. Being the first band up is never an easy task. The room always looks more half-empty than half-full, and you're assigned with the difficult duty of warming up the crowd. Heaven's Gate had no problem with this. Before the end of their first tune, the room had filled out considerably, and they were clearly in control of everyone inside. Their fuzz driven, post-punk inspired sound immediately reminded me of Danzig's oft-forgotten middle era in Samhain. The morbid aggression, as well as the husky vocal bellowing contributed to that influence, while the guitar's washed out, fuzz effected ambience gave way to a sound all their own. Heaven's Gate is a Brooklyn-based quintet, whose debut record, "Transmuting" is due out September 24th on Inflated Records.
Next up, was the midwestern based punk trio, Tenement, whose blue collar style approach to punk rock was reflected in their sloppy, guitar based, fuzzy noise punk songs. They put on a fast-paced high energy performance that hit the mark. If you're into straight up, from the basement style punk rock, then this band is right up your alley. Their set was short, and sweet, and set the stage nicely for what came next.
There's been a lot of buzz surrounding Waxahatchee in the last year. I held off on the opportunity to get a chance to see her perform in person, and reserving my judgments for that point. Let me come out and say forthright that this group did not disappoint. Waxahatchee, the solo project of Katie Crutchfield, has an uncanny ability to silence a room and suck in an audience with her melancholic, wispy-voiced crooning. Her melodies are thoughtful and haunting, and the underlying arrangements are simplistic and yet somehow massive. The buzz surrounding this act is certainly well deserved. The songwriting is on point, and the execution gives the concepts of which an organic authenticity that can't be faked. If you haven't checked out any Waxahatchee to this point, do yourself a favor and check them out, because they are fantastic.
What could possibly be said about the Screaming Females that hasn't already been said before? This New Brunswick three-piece is no-nonsense. Marissa Paternoster is a bonafide rock star, and I don't care who you wanna compare her to, but she can absolutely shred with the best of them. King Mike rips it up on the bass, while Jarrett Dougherty holds it down on the drums. At first glance, you'd pin these guys as being your typical raucous punk band, but don't be fooled. There is a lot more to this group, than basement style punk rock. Their musicianship alone makes them more parts Cream than the Ramones, and their punk rock label may be in appearances alone. All this band does is keep churning out high octane rock n' roll with great songwriting and even greater playing. They set the bar high, and with every release and consequent tour, raise it higher and higher. What an outstanding band.
All in all, last night was an awesome night for live music. Every single one of these bands is worth checking out and putting on the iPod.
Check out Heaven's Gate: https://www.facebook.com/heavensgateusa
Check out Tenement: https://www.facebook.com/tenement
Check out Waxahatchee: https://www.facebook.com/waxahatchee
Check out Screaming Females: https://www.facebook.com/screamingfemales