Wednesday, May 10, 2023

Live Shows: Lydia Loveless and The Quahogs, Askew, Providence, RI 5/7/23

Considering Lydia Loveless and Drive-By Truckers are two of my favorite artists, I was truly bummed out that their tour wasn't hitting the Boston area, even though they had played in Boston just last spring. Luckily, Lydia Loveless announced a show on an off night for the Drive-By Truckers. There was no way I could miss that, especially since it had been eight years since I saw her with a full band.

Lydia Loveless has been moving away from the alt-country sound that she started out with ever since 2016's Real and 2020's Daughter. On Sunday night at Askew her sound has evolved even more. Her band has always had a more punk/indie rock sound to their live show, but with the addition of a new bass player and a new second guitar player (apologies, I didn't catch their names!), the band's sound has taken on a more shoegaze sound. This might be since the new guitar player plays with one of the largest pedal boards I've ever seen, but the newer songs packed more of a punch in this current incarnation. Most songs also came from the newer albums, with only "Head" and "Verlaine Shot Rimbaud" from 2014's Somewhere Else. An audience member requested "Wine Lips," to which Loveless stated that she wasn't sure how to play that right now, just to show how much she's moved on to her more current music.

As she usually does, Loveless played three songs solo in the middle of her set. One of these was a cover of Justin Bieber's "Sorry," if Google is correct when I looked up the lyrics. It was a much more downtrodden, nearly gothic take on what I assume the original sounds like. That might be the best explanation of Loveless' current sound: Pop music played with as much sadness as possible, but in a punk/shoegaze way. As much as I loved the band's early alt-country, I am quite intrigued by what they are coming out with next.

Providence's own The Quahogs opened the night. I hate making this comparison because it sounds dismissive, but they're an alt-country band from Providence with a lead singer that sounds more than a little like John McCauley, so the Deer Tick comparisons can't be avoided. But they had their own thing going in that genre, and were probably responsible for about half of the audience Sunday night. Plus, there was a cover of Gram Parson's "A Song for You" which had more than enough heartache injected into it. 

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