Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Live Shows: Airiel, Blushing, Bodywah, and Bella Steele, Deep Cuts, Medford, MA 6/21/24

I normally don't like when there's a four band bill with all four bands being the same genre. Friday night at Deep Cuts was a shoegaze bill to the point that the majority of the crowd were wearing shirts for Ride, My Bloody Valentine, etc. However, all four bands played such varied styles of shoegaze that at no point did the evening feel repetitive.

First up was Bella Steele. The Boston band play a heavier, more sludgy version of shoegaze. Some might consider it more sludge metal than shoegaze, but I'm going to still call them shoegaze. I was completely unfamiliar with Bella Steele before they took the stage, and I became a fan almost instantly. They were impossible to ignore and commanded attention. Luckily, they were great and quickly converted the crowd that was mostly there for a lighter, poppier version of the genre. It was one of those times that a local opener had an entire crowd talking about them for pretty much an entire break between bands. 

Bodywash played next, and I had almost forgotten about the Quebec band before the show. When I saw the flyer, I was delighted to finally see them perform live, and didn't realize they were playing until the last minute. They played a lighter, more dream gaze sound than Bella Steele. That is, until they didn't. Most of their set were airy and hazy songs that seemed to float around you, but some of their songs were a heavier, more alt-rock style. Both sounds from Bodywash were done impeccably and accented the other perfectly. I'm thrilled to have Bodywash back on my radar, and to dive back into their catalog.

Next up was Blushing, the band I wanted to see the most. The Austin band play a more alt-rock style of shoegaze. It's a little more aggressive, but it's also a fun sound. In fact, Blushing seemed to be having more fun than any shoegaze band I've ever seen live. We've compared them to Veruca Salt playing shoegaze, and that description fits their live set aptly. It was face melting 90's style alt-rock with a haze over the whole thing, and the crowd was into it. It could just have been my own bias as a fan, but they seemed to have had the most diehard fans, and the new ones became diehards by the end. They closed out their set with "Dream Merchants" with both Christina and Noe Carmona playing in the crowd, which just endeared them to us all even more so.

Airiel closed out the evening. The Chicago band's Bandcamp description proclaims "It's loud. It's pretty. You can dance to it." I don't think a Bandcamp description has ever described a band's sound so perfectly. Their version of shoegaze was mysteriously dance friendly without losing any of the oomph of the genre. It was loud, gorgeous music that enraptured the audience, who equally stood there in awe and danced their hearts out. The chin stroking audiences that typically fill up shoegaze shows were nowhere to be seen. Airiel bring out fans who want to rock the fuck out when they're not having their minds blown.

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