Additional photos can be found in a Facebook album here :::
When I found out that Erica Dawn Lyle and Privacy Issues were on tour together I was happy. When I found out that they wouldn't be playing in Connecticut I was sad, but luckily this show was over the border into MA and just under an hour and a half away from me. Adding Fred Cracklin and Valley Gals to round out the bill just made me feel even more certain about how I was spending this Tuesday night.
This was my first time at Ten Forward and it was a really neat space. It's near downtown, so there is plenty of parking in terms of streets and lots (after 5pm it's all free) and you go down a set of steps to get there. I didn't know that so I asked someone in the Mexican restaurant how to get there and now I also wish I had some tacos (next time!) The dance floor is tiled black and white and it just looks like something out of "Happy Days" but with a modern twist.
Fred Cracklin was on first and they played that rock sound which leans from experimental/psych/jazz to metal. Vocals (even laughing) got looped into the sounds and it just felt like such a trip. I don't know if they're going to go into something like Pink Floyd where you just feel like you're out there floating in the clouds or something more metal like Black Sabbath. And, I know, they have songs and you can listen to them and then know but in the moment I like to be surprised.
One thing I will say about this show over the last time I saw Fred Cracklin is that this was in a smaller space. The way that Brown Jug Liquor is set up is just big and open feeling where the walls just absorb the sound and it slowly expands to the outside. But at Ten Forward it was more intimate and so it felt like the sound was really trapped within the walls. This made everything- especially in the Fred Cracklin set- hit louder and just feel like a wave trying to knock you over.
This brought up Privacy Issues who are a lot of fun and for some reason remind me of a band from the "Scott Pilgrim" movie. A duo of drums and guitar, not too much unlike Fred Cracklin, they played through songs in an upbeat but punk way. Sometimes it felt like borderline pop and other times it felt more experimental. But it was loud, fast and fun, which seemed to be the theme of the evening.
Prior to their set, Privacy Issues handed out zines that had the lyrics to their songs in them so you could sing along. I thought this was kind of neat except the dance floor area of Ten Forward was so dark it made it difficult to read. But it was still something I'd never seen done before and I appreciate the effort. They told us at the end of the show we could either keep the lyric zines or return if we wanted and that felt good for recycling as well.
Erica Dawn Lyle was on third and is an absolute superstar. This set consisted of loud guitars, looping and sometimes vocals and beats. At the beginning of the set it really felt like it was going to be a dance party. Erica Dawn Lyle didn't shy away from putting down her guitar and going onto the dance floor and dancing either. It really set the tone for all of the energy involved in the set.
There was also this bouquet of roses on an amp, which I took a photo of because of what the amp says, and at the end of the set, during the final song, Erica Dawn Lyle took the flowers and one by one began throwing them at the audience. The flowers pretty much exploded into pedals and stems on impact and it was just one of those touches that added to the set as members of the audience picked up petals afterwards as souvenirs.
Valley Gals headlined this show and brought the punk rock. The energy level here just felt like watching an old punk rock band at CBGB's back in the day. Somewhere between Dead Boys and one of my personal favorite punk rock bands Guttermouth. The singer was dancing around the stage and into the crowd, telling stories in between songs about what the songs were about. Some songs could've been two minutes while others felt like thirty seconds.
This is a very specific type of punk rock, that very loud and fast type that was around when it was first around, and you just don't hear this a lot any more. Bands try to put their own twist on the sound or be more melodic, but they just lose that raw quality that Valley Gals have and this just ended up being a hell of a way to top off this most excellent show.