Whenever a show I'm planning on attending gets cancelled, I always end up with a feeling of panic and a need to find another show to fill the void. After Jessica Lea Mayfield cancelled her tour and show this week at Great Scott, I started scouring the listings to see what else I could attend. Once I saw that blog favorite Weakened Friends had been added to the already tempting Monday night show for The Courtneys, I knew that would be the one.
This was my third time seeing Weakened Friends in a little over a year, and their live shows keep getting better. I wouldn't say it's because they're getting tighter as a band. They are a bit, but they're still just sloppy enough to be completely charming. "Miserable" and "Main Bitch" are still complete highlights of any set, with new song "Hate Mail" soon to be a much beloved addition, even without J Mascis on the live version. Weakened Friends seem to be having a blast when playing, particularly bassist Annie Hoffman as she bounces around the stage. Guitarist/singer Sonia Sturino was in rare form, reminding the crowd that they could die at anytime, so we should all enjoy every day equally. Weakend Friends are beginning to hearken back to this glorious but brief time in 1997 where it was completely ok for indie bands to want to be successful. Not huge rock stars, but at least enough to quit their day jobs.
Versing was the band I knew the least amount walking into the show, but I left as a new, obsessive fan. The Seattle band was playing for the very first time in Boston, and we need them back as soon as possible. Their sound reminded me a ton of early Superdrag mixed with The Dismemberment Plan. But loud. Songs like "Call Me Out," "Body Chamber," and "Nirvana" completely won me over. (I'm not completely sure how I feel about a Seattle band calling a song and album "Nirvana," but we'll leave that for another time...) I have a feeling you'll be hearing us rave about Versing for a long time to come.
The Courtneys headlined the evening, and weren't quite what I expected them to be. The newly released album, The Courtneys II, is the epitome of 90's influenced alternapop, but live they seemed much more restrained and raw than the sheen you can hear on the album. It reminded me much more of early that dog instead of the more pop influenced sound that I expected. As much as I enjoyed their performance, it's always hard to completely focus when an unexpectedly fantastic opener like Versing has just mesmerized you. Plus, after two more energetic and frenetic performances, The Courtneys were a wee bit too downbeat for what I needed to keep me going after 11:00 pm on a Monday night.