Speedy Ortiz at 7th St. Entry, 4/15/14
Photo by Mark N. Kartarik
7th St. Entry, Minneapolis
Tuesday, April 15, 2014
Last night was missing something. Like a sense of urgency or chance of surprise. Technically tight, the members of Massachusetts' Speedy Ortiz played 7th St. Entry well enough so that sonically you understood their status as a headliner. They bound from one song to the next with measured proficiency, enforcing an air of confidence in their combined effort.
And the control of that sound - showing this ability to open up guitar feedback like a throttle - presented this act as not a backyard outfit high on loose abandon, but as a touring machine smiling their fresh-cut teeth. Guitarist Mike Robidoux shoved a pair of pliers into his fret board at a particular instance, yet you felt that somewhere else he'd done so before, even if the technique still entertained. That image is sort of the metaphor for the evening, now.
Photo by Mark N. Kartarik
Because it's a conflicted situation. One where I want the drunken protest of a show like the one Speedy played at the 2013 CMJ Music Festival back in New York in October, yet it's a relief to see them developing their ability to play so concisely. They honestly appeared to be in a good place creatively. A place past the raw emotion, or at least not entirely consumed by it. They've hit the road and opened for Stephen Malkmus and his Jicks, and their records know acclaim, so the struggle for eyes isn't one so urgent. They can attend to their craft now, and in ways - maybe in entirety - that's exciting to think about for it lays the next step.
But it's hard not to think of the crowd last night. They cheered and interacted with their entertainment on a level, but still they just stood and stared as the band hit its chords. It was like we were supposed to be there, almost. Watching this unit we know we love, hoping for something unimaginable to happen.
Photos by Mark N. Kartarik
Though, of course, that's all expectation, and expectation obviously differs from realities. Because it was a great show last night. Their sound came fully-formed, and the set list managed to encapsulate most everything they've been through thus far - from early singles to brand new, possibly in-progress tunes.
I guess I'm just stuck on magic, but that isn't all the time, is it? You can't summon something like that. It just has to happen, and it wasn't happening last night. Minneapolis was just a stop.
Critics Bias: I like magic.
Overheard in Crowd: "Yo, is that your lady?"
Random Notebook Dump: I should have brought Michael DeForge comics, and had them sign that shit.
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