A friend of mine from SoCal told me to check out Holly Miranda (because she is awesome, I was told) at the Fox. Scheduling conflicts prevented that from happening but, to my luck, Holly was playing Cafe du Nord only a few days later. Better yet, the Du Nord show included some local supporters opening up the bill.
I made it in time to catch the last few songs of Tortured Genies. I’m really digging the 60’s pop revival that’s going on and the Genies bring their own flair to the sound. Floating along like a cool California breeze, the room was filled with good vibes, swaying – not thrashing, mind you – bodies, and a sense that we were all hovering a couple inches above the ground. ‘Twas the perfect segue into the non-condescendingly aloof shoegazing of Foxtail Somersault.
Foxtail Somersault thrust me into an early 90’s flashback, bringing up thoughts of the Happy Mondays et al. With a sound like theirs, it’s often easy to overlook the musicianship involved, especially when listening to a recording. Seeing them live, I couldn’t help but latch onto the sonic landscapes painted by guitarists Seiken Nakama and James Spadaro. Never overpowering the rest of the sound, they found the pocket early and filled it just right. Elizabeth Anderson’s vocals were like an aural conundrum. They were light and wispy yet rich and full, all at the same time. The texture they brought to the room evades any possible written description on my part, so you’ll just have to see them live for yourself.
Closing out the evening was my initial impetus for venturing to the show – Holly Miranda. Relying heavily on material from her most recent release, The Magician’s Private Library, Miranda focused entirely on the task at hand. Belting out her pop-laden rock, she looked introspective as all hell. Her voice oozes sincerity and was always spot on. It was a festival of delights that I shared shoulder-to-shoulder with a packed house. That’s not something you’d necessarily expect on a Tuesday night. I particularly enjoyed hearing “Joints” live, with Cafe du Nord’s size and layout an outstanding complement to the eerie soundwaves tickling ear drums across the joint. While Holly was undoubtedly the focus of the group, her bassist was grooving like it was nobody’s business. God bless that dude because he brought the low end, and he brought it hard.
There wasn’t a dull moment in the evening, and in an effort to not forget how awesome it was, I bought both Holly Miranda’s EP and LP. I’m quite positively looking forward to reliving the evening with a record player and some speakers soon.