Speedy Ortiz and the Good Life (all photos by Jennymay Villarete)
I wasn’t having a good day. I lost my dog of 14 years in the morning, but still I ventured out to Rickshaw Stop on June 2 with puffy eyes and a weakened state of mind, because I would not let this stop me from going to something that I had been excited about for months. I stood alone by the side of the stage, barely talking to anyone and avoiding interactions with people I knew.
When Tancred came on, I was starting to remember why I was so excited and why I just had to come. Tancred was unbelievable. I had heard a lot about Jess Abbott’s latest project, but I was completely awestruck by her performance and lyrics. It was as though all the pop-punk I was obsessed with in 2006 came back not to haunt me, but happily surprise me. It definitely makes sense how Tancred has not only opened for Motion City Soundtrack but also (obviously) Speedy Ortiz and The Good Life. Tancred mixes classic pop-punk style with an empowering presence and choice of words. Kind of like pop-punk of the millennial feminist/destroy gender nature: perfectly up my alley.
From where I was standing, it looked packed. The front of the stage was, oddly, inhabited by tall older men, but behind those ridiculously tall men were dozens of people waiting solely for Speedy Ortiz to take the stage. I had been wanting to see Speedy Ortiz live for what seemed like forever. When they finally took that stage, I forgot why I had been breaking down hours before. I was standing right next to Tim Kasher, trying to not have an emo panic attack. Mentally imagining what I would say to him like, “Hey what’s up, I love everything you’ve ever touched and all the friends you have ever hugged, haha.” Don’t worry, I may have forgotten why I was sad as Sadie Dupuis had me jamming along to “Raising the Skate,” but I was still too sad to say hey to Tim Kasher. I was leaning against a wall, singing along to every word Sadie banged out. I will forever be in amazed by Sadie’s voice; there’s something so uninhibited to the way she makes her lyrics come alive. Also, she shreds that guitar. I see a lot of guitar playing, but seeing her play woke me up from the dead.
I didn’t think the Good Life could beat those two acts, but I was wrong. Sure most of the younger faces in the crowd had dispersed after Speedy Ortiz’s set, but they hella missed out. The Good Life were the oldest band playing, with a following that knows every bit of their history, and every last melody from every project any of the members have ever touched. The band was as energetic as both Tancred and Speedy put into one. Tim Kasher spent the whole set just making that stage his play area. Stefanie Drootin, Ryan Fox, and Roger L. Lewis were not just standing still, either. They shared it all together and with the crowd and, in the end, even with Sadie. Giving the crowd an encore of a old favorite off their 2004 album Album of the Year “You’re not you.” Everyone left in the crowd was singing along, Sadie was making her debut as the Good Life’s new tambourine player, and I made my debut as a now very dedicated fan. I had seen the Good Life before. I remember being impressed, but seeing them in one of my favorite intimate venues made me an honest fan.