Photos by: Anna Gazdowicz
My First Earthquake has a gift for humor that is tricky to achieve in song. Last Thursday at the Rickshaw Stop they released their new EP, Crush, which has refined what they do best – funny, nerdy dance songs with glimpses of gravity.
Starting with old favorites, “Vow to Vowels” and “Cool in the Cool Way,” MFE got the upfront audience enthusiastically singing along. The most striking element of their performance was frontwoman Rebecca Bortman’s ebullient stage presence and agile voice. With dead-on pitch and unique cadence, Bortman was a pleasure to watch singing live.
In contrast to the performance of some of their older songs, their live performances of the EP lit up the new material, signaling how much they are growing into their style. My personal favorite is “Neon for You,” but I think there’s something to love about all four songs. Get it here for free.
The Downer Party played before MFE with an exuberant youthfulness. Their first song, bearing the chorus “I can’t bear my life in love with you,” revealed songwriter Sierra Frost’s talent for writing confessional songs with enough quirk and frankness to make it disarming. The tasteful addition of some ‘shoo bops,’ psychedelic guitar riffs and harmony lines further help to set the band apart from the fold of indie pop. The best song was their last, a new song about the ‘windy city’ and discreet romance, hopefully a harbinger of a full length release.
When I walked into show, keys player Michael Coleman of The Attachments was teasing lead singer Ben Urwand about his “sweet diamond shirt.” (It was, in fact, pretty sweet.) The band, playing upbeat pop, wore all the charm of a bunch of boys harmonizing over lost loves. Taking a page from the Beatles, the band keeps the themes of their songs simple, letting their well-crafted melodies come to the forefront.