The Columbus Theater has been hosting a series of benefit shows for Maggie Siegel, and this past Saturday saw a line up that included The Huntress & Holder of Hands, Tall Teenagers, and Smith&Weeden. I went for The Huntress & Holder of Hands since I knew the other bands by name but had never heard them. I left with two new favorite bands.
It's going to be easy to compare Smith&Weeden to Deer Tick. They're both Rhode Island bands that play a country-fied version of noisy rock and roll, but it's hard not to since they're both Rhode Island bands that play a country-fied version of noisy rock and roll. While Deer Tick have been delving into a more straightforward and mainstream version of rock lately, Smith&Weeden are staying right in the country/rock genre. Songs like "Wondering" and "Boys in Bands" are these gems of alt-country: Way too country to be rock and way to rock to be country, but perfect for those of us that love the mixing of these genres. They even broke out a way more rock and country version of Bruce Springsteen's "Atlantic City" than you've ever heard before.
Tall Teenagers played next with a completely different sound. They were still decidedly rock, but more 90's style alternative than alt-country. They blend the noise of the Pixies with the melodies of Belly, which more bands should really do. The use of a male and female singer blending main vocals throughout the majority of their songs gives Tall Teenagers a truly unique sound. They played a loud and noisy but beautiful set that will definitely get me to head down to Providence more often than I normally do.
Speaking of loud and noisy but beautiful, The Huntress & Holder of Hands closed out the night with their mix of indie rock, folk, and metal. They play far louder and more rocking than you would expect, and the majority of their noise seems to surprisingly come from acoustic instruments. "Shake Off Your Flesh" is somehow even more epic live than it is on their 2017 album Avalon. They even broke out a pair of Brown Bird songs. "Bilgewater" was a particularly powerful song live, with MorganEve Swain taking over her late husband Dave Lamb's vocals and cello player Emily Dix Thomas taking Swain's vocals. The Huntress & Holder of Hands become a bigger obsession of mine every time I listen, and their live show just amplifies that.