May 7, 2016
That Was The Show That Was: Waking Windows Night 1 with Hop Along, Speedy Ortiz and Chain & The Gang
[PHOTO: Dillon Riley] Hey! We we sent intrepid Staff Writer Dillon Riley to this weekend's Waking Windows music festival in Winooski, VT! He's filing reports! Even though today's his birthday! This is the first one! Exclamation points!
>>Hop Along, Outside Stage, 8 PM
Philly phenoms Hop Along were the second act we took in on the first night of Waking Windows, and the quartet easily impressed with a crowd-pleasing set culled mostly from the towering 2015 Saddle Creek release Painted Shut, one of Clicky Clicky's favorite records of last year. While the set was plagued early on with gear issues -- namely a blown bass head that left the band soldiering on as a trio for the vast majority of the incredible "Waitress" while Tyler Long scrambled to borrow a new unit -- the performance was otherwise thrilling. Bigger bangers like "Waitress," "Powerful Man" and the opener "Texas Funeral" were given strong, punchy and fuzz-fueled workouts, the group's earlier material also shined brightly. "Tibetan Pop Stars," the band's breakthrough track from its un-eff-withable 2012 debut Get Disowned and arguably [we might argue the point -- Ed.] the quartet's strongest song to date, persists as an electrifying reminder of how Hop Along had its shit together long before the wide success of Painted Shut.
>> Speedy Ortiz, Outside Stage, 9 PM
As fronter and guitarist Sadie Dupuis announced between songs on Friday night, last night's performance was Speedy Ortiz's third at Waking Windows, albeit the indie juggernaut's first as a main stage headliner. It's safe to say a lot has changed for the foursome in the span of time those three appearances represent. After opening with "Tiger Tank," a stand-out tune from the band's 2013 LP Major Arcana [review] and as good a candidate as any for the office of Band Sonic Calling Card -– Speedy whipped through a heroic, comprehensive set that spanned a majority of the act's vital oeuvre. Alongside stirring recitations of material from 2015’s fantastic sophomore set Foil Deer were heavy, fantastically erratic versions of early singles including "Taylor Swift" and its flip-side "Swim Fan." While already known as a singular and formidable lyrical and music talent from her recordings, Dupuis' idiosyncratic tics are particularly captivating on stage, where she enlarges and drags certain melodies, often leading into vast choruses or diving straight into sharp vocal pivots. This can be dizzying or even slightly chilling, as she fearlessly veers toward destroying the pace of certain songs before sliding into their massive hooks. "Indoor Soccer," one of the foursome's earliest and most cryptic gems was delivered as a final salvo, and the song's crushing and silly final admission served as an almost cruel reminder of how much Speedy Ortiz will be missed in Boston area now that Ms. Dupuis has moved south.
>> Chain & The Gang, The Monkey House, 12:10 AM Give Or Take
Chain & The Gang, the long-running, eclectic rock outfit fronted by former Nation Of Ulysses singer, D.C. scene legend and noted raconteur Ian Svenonious, seized the stage after midnight in matching pin striped suits. After a brief introduction from a festival representative and an impressive high kick they were off, loosing cuts from their late aughts run of full lengths. Interspersed between fast and loose versions of tunes like of "Detroit Music" and "Free Will" were wide-eyed and incorrigible dispatches from Svenonius. Preaching the importance of discretion, he at one point brought the cheers down and asked the crowd to not share the news of their set with anyone outside the Monkey House. Antics aside, the band ran through some particularly sharp takes from 2012's In Cool Blood, especially "Certain Kinds of Trash." That number, concerned with finding comfort in the old ways of doing things, feels like an apt anthem for a band that bends classicist influences to fit its own warped worldview. -- Dillon Riley
Hop Along: Bandcamp | Facebook
Speedy Ortiz: Bandcamp | Facebook | Internerds
Chain and The Gang: Bandcamp | Facebook