Live Music Review //
Andrea Pensado / Angela Sawyer / The City of Meriden
Burning Books / Ethan WL & Liam Grant

February 11th, 2023
@ Willimantic Records, Willimantic CT


Additional photos can be found in a Facebook album here :::

This was the second live music show we attended in 2023 and it was also the second one held at Willimantic Records.   Willimantic Records also just happened to be celebrating their eleventh anniversary at this show which means they're as old as Quentin!   This was definitely a show of variety and as we got closer to the end we found out what that really meant.

Ethan WL & Liam Grant started the show with acoustic guitars.   They played this sound together which had those rambling notes and made it feel like at times they were playing the banjo even though I couldn't hear one.   It was just that nice sort of folk sound, but also with a little bit of swamp mixed into it.    It was somehow both peaceful and energetic at the same time.

Burning Books was up second and was a stand up bass performance.  This is the type of thing I particularly like for Quentin to pay attention to, as he learns the cello in school.   I know there was a song titled "Harbor", but so much of the way this set sounded just reminded me of being at the dock near the ocean.   It's that idea of the water, swaying back and forth, while the boats blow their horns in that sound almost like a whale.  

The City of Meriden is where I live but also a band.  They played an acoustic set third and were the biggest band there in terms of people as there were five of them.  The songs had this rock n roll / folk feeling to them, which might have to do with being acoustic, and they made me think of some combination of Neil Young and Blind Melon.   Anyone singing songs about getting high at work and Morrissey is all right with me.

While this show started with two more acoustic sounding acts that were a duo and solo set, I feel like The City of Meriden was this middle piece that divided those two acts from the last two.   Just the way that the music changed but also you could sort of feel the split in that change was something to be noted.   

Angela Sawyer would play forth and create electronics and vocals with loops.  This was, at its core, a noise set and it took non-traditional sounds and presented them in sometimes traditional ways.  It was undoubtedly different than what was heard before it, but it's also just out there and unlike anything else.  Such is the life of the noise artist though- using whatever tools needed to craft their own sound.

At one point during the set (toward the end of it) Angela Sawyer also utilized these machines which shot out ping pong balls.  The balls went everywhere but also created an added sound.  I thought this was kind of neat to see because when I listen to cassettes and hear certain sounds I think of them as sounding like specific things that they probably are not in reality.  So to see what I would have described if it was recorded as ping pong balls actually be that was fun.

The final act of the afternoon was Andrea Pensado who had a noise set that was more on the harsh side of things.  I say this with the utmost of respect (and almost as a brag) but as Andrea Pensado began playing there were people inside the room who just couldn't take it and left.  It was a very loud burst of distortion and it kept up that way.   There were vocals which were also coming through distorted and the whole thing just felt like destruction and chaos.

Andrea Pensado had bouncing balls that lit up which were thrown at the crowd.   At one point, the circus music came on (you know the one) and that turned very dark very fast (as if there wasn't enough reason to be afraid of clowns already)   I do enjoy that we started off the day rather peacefully and built up to this.  At almost any other point in the day, random passer-bys might stop and poke their head in to enjoy the music.  But I'm not sure what those same people would've thought hearing Andrea Pensado's sound coming from this room.

After what was Quentin's first harsh noise set he told me "That was fun.  That was probably the loudest thing I ever heard".   That really seems like one of the best ways to describe it.  When people ask me what type of music I listen to I can never explain it.  But this show was a good example because the artists all felt different yet were also so good at what they were doing.  I enjoy shows where all the bands are punk, but I also really enjoy when you get the variety such as this.  

Willimantic Records can be found on the web:

As well as on Facebook:

Ethan WL has a new album out which can be heard here:

The music of Liam Grant can be found here:

Burning Books can be found here:

The City of Meriden can be followed on Instagram:

Angela Sawyer has an album here:

Andrea Pensado has an official site here:


Popular Posts