Photos & Review By: Francesca Tirpak
Tuesday night at the Che Cafe was the most crowded I’ve ever seen it since I started coming here two years ago, which I suppose is a good thing tonight; outside, the rain had formed puddles just deep enough to soak your socks and heat from so many bodies helped fight the cold. Every so often, a flash of lightning followed quickly by the roar of thunder, so loud it could be heard over the roar of our own voices. The glass sliding doors on the side of the building fogged up from the contrast in temperature and various attendees rubbed it away to make faces highlighted by the colored lights outside.
I had never heard of the first opening band Holling, despite the fact they are local. The trio set the mood nicely for a stormy Fall night with a slow and soulful set. I heard someone say, appropriately, how it sounded like there was a standing ovation happening against the roof. Bobby T and the Slackers played next and picked up the pace significantly, with a far more upbeat set that had the crowd bobbing heads and tapping feet. The four-piece band from Los Angeles followed a classic light-punk pattern with music easy to dance to.
The anticipation that had been building all night was coming to a head as Harmony and Cleo of Girlpool stepped onstage. The soft but angsty songs of the self-described “pop lo-fi” two-piece band out of Los Angeles were pierced by periods of intense punk-reminiscent guitar riffs, contrasted by the innocent theme of their newest album, Before the World Was Big: growing up.
The intimacy of the stage and the members’ interaction with the crowd — before, during, and after their set — was the highlight of the night. We could see Harmony at the very front of the crowd during both opening sets, taking pictures and dancing with the rest of us. The duo stayed behind to take pictures with excited fans and sign various merchandise. It was easy definitely see their intense dedication to their art of choice and to the fans of their work.