December 6, 2012

That Was The Show That Was: Infinity Girl EP Release Show With New Highway Hymnal, Speedy Ortiz and Soccer Mom | TT The Bear's | 5 Dec.

In what seems to be a trend in Boston of late, Wednesday night at TT The Bear's featured a killer lineup worthy of a weekend slot. The occasion was an EP release show for Boston shoegaze quartet Infinity Girl's new Just Like Lovers EP [review]. It was an espcially important show for the band, as its future is presently up in the air, with at least half of the band soon to take up residency outside of Boston's friendly confines. The bill also featured crackling sets from scenemates Soccer Mom, grungy post-punk from Northampton's Speedy Ortiz and Boston-based The New Highway Hymnal's narcotic psych-blues.

Soccer Mom opened the show a little after 9 with a set that included unrecorded material, both "sides" of the foursome's recent digital single, and selections from the band's killer 2011 EP You Are Not Going To Heaven. While their music certainly doesn't shy away from heavy use of noise, it's worth noting that Soccer Mom are particularly loud live. Dan Parlin and William Scales' guitars and their attendant feedback regularly collide and then cut out, leaving an opening for vocals to penetrate the live mix. The 'Mom's newer songs retain the chaotic atmosphere of their older material. The foursome ended its set with songs from their digital single "Brides" b/w "A Canoe Shy;" the latter track and its soaring chorus was particularly impressive.

Speedy Ortiz jumped right into a slew of new songs slated to appear on the band's planned full-length debut; the quartet finished recording the set with Justin Pizzoferrato at his studio Sonelab in Easthampton, Mass. just last week, according to fronter and guitarist Sadie Dupuis. She noted from the stage that certain of the songs in the set were being given their live debut last night. These new tunes fit well within the band's established sound -- sarcastic, awkward verses that give way to big choruses punctuated by dynamic blasts of feedback and heavy drum fills. Speedy Ortiz's lone selection from this year's excellent Sports EP was "Silver Spring," and the live iteration -- complete with a song-ending noise section -- was a highlight of the band's remarkably tight and engaging set. The set closed with a new number touting an extended outro which provided the band an opportunity to nearly destroy their equipment as they ran mic stands and pedals up against their guitars. Wednesday's show is apparently Speedy's last in Boston for a while; the band soon embarks on a short tour with notable Western, Mass. resident Thurston Moore.

Infinity Girl released its triumphant Just Like Lovers EP just past midnight Wednesday morning, but even so it opened its powerful performance with "Please Forget," its typical opening number and a highlight of their full-length debut Stop Being On My Side [review]. Gear issues plagued the opening number, as Mitch Stewart’s bass died almost immediately. Fortunately, Darl from Speedy Ortiz stepped up with a loaner bass and the show went on. Infinity Girl played selections from both Side and Lovers after announcing from the stage that the show was in fact their last for a while, and the set felt like a sort of farewell by the end. The quartet closed with an earth-shaking, nine-minute version of Stop Being On My Side's "Cannons." In its final minutes the song shed its languid groove and climaxed into a titanic cavalcade of noise and feedback, with drummer Sebastian Modak driving the tempo faster and faster as Mr. Stewart stabbed at his bass and fronter Nolan Eley pogoed as he exorcised feedback from his guitar, ultimately sliding his guitar back and forth across the stage by its strap. The players embraced after the cacaphony subsided.

The New Highway Hymnal had the unenviable task of following that set, but made short work of seizing the crowd's attention with its focused, harrowing live renderings of songs from the recently released long-player Whispers. Between the hypnotic groove of the trio's formidable rhythm section, fronter Hadden Stemp's possessed stage persona and spine-tingling yelps, and the shifting psychedelic light show, The New Highway Hymnal was able to skillfully transport the crowd at TT's with its dark, hip-shaking tunes. -- Dillon Riley, Correspondent

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