Speedy Ortiz (Photo: Tim Draut)
Baby buzzband Speedy Ortiz rolled through Bottom of the Hill last night supporting their Best New Music certified debut full-length Major Arcana, which was released on Carpark Records about two weeks ago. Local punk rock bands Wild Moth and Shinobu opened the show. I was there. It was fun.
San Francisco four-piece Wild Moth kicked off the night with a set of rowdy post-punk garage rock. I was only able to catch the tail end of their set, but from what I saw these dudes were shredding pretty hard. Future headliners for sure.
Bay Area trio Shinobu also played a solid rock set, alternating between lo-fi garage and high-energy pop-punk revivalism. In true punk rock fashion, the last song found the frontman ditching his guitar and jumping onto the floor to belt out the vocals with a pent-up aggression that seemed to have been building through the duration of the set, despite his impressive guitar moves. Some random bro from the audience, whom I’m guessing was a friend of the band, jumped on stage to fill in on guitar duty during the raucous finale.
Massachusetts quartet Speedy Ortiz was definitely the main draw of the night, with singer-guitarist Sadie Dupuis leading the band through songs from Major Arcana, plus a few earlier singles. The band opened with “Casper (1995)” and performed several other new album cuts including “Tiger Tank”, “Plough”, and “No Below”. We also learned that “Gary” is about Dupuis’ former Pokemon rival. Dupuis said she had been admiring the colorful calendars on the wall of “both” (as drummer Mike Falcone called the venue), an acceptable substitute for the MOMA being closed.
Older songs from the set included “Hexxy” and “Indoor Soccer”. Guitar player Matt Robidoux introduced closer “Taylor Swift” by announcing, “This song is called Amanda Bynes.” So relevant bro. The house lights flickered and the band didn’t even leave the stage before agreeing to play an encore of fan requests “Fun” and “Cash Cab”. Right before the encore, Robidoux said, “Last night I fell asleep at my grandma’s house…. This song is called royal baby.”
At times the vocals were overpowered by the guitars, but Dupuis made sure the crowd was able to hear her most resonant lyrics. Choice examples from the female singer include lines such as “wedding chapel exorcism under a dim lamplight” and “I’m gettin’ my dick sucked, on the regular.”
There has been a lot of discussion about Speedy Ortiz lately, and the fact that I literally have not heard one single person talk shit about this band makes me think that it might be more than just hype. The band has been lauded for the original, intellectual yet no-fucks-given style of its ’90s alternative-inspired songwriting, and you aren’t going to hear any different from me. This band sounds fresh both on record and off, as long as you can hear the vocals. Sorry if you missed the show.