A blog for Seattle music lovers of all stripes, from hip-hop and indie rock to jazz and world music.
August 28, 2013 at 2:32 PM
Chastity Belt far from chaste at record-release show
By Joseph Sutton-Holcomb
I first saw Chastity Belt two years ago, at The Josephine in Ballard. They played a short, semi-sloppy set, opening for Dude York. Both bands have their origins at Whitman College in Walla Walla, so the pairing seemed natural.
It’s funny how much can change in 24 months. Last night, the tables turned, with Dude York opening for Chastity belt to celebrate the release of their new record, “No Regerts.” Before the release, the album was streaming on Pitchfork, and the website’s review gave the LP an admirable 7.5. God only knows what qualifies “making it” in the rock and roll world these days, but that’s a helluva good start.
But the best part about the show, which went down at Capitol Hill’s Barboza, was that the lineup read like a greatest hits list of noisy local acts. Dude York and Chastity Belt were worth the $8 ticket by themselves, but Seattleites Stickers and Ubi Roi primed the audience perfectly.
Stickers opened. If you haven’t heard of them, there’s only two things you need to know: they’re punky and the singer rocks a sax. The best cut of the night was the delightfully screechy “Outlet.” Ubi Roi, the second act, delivered a delightfully thrashy set, which helped build the energy in the room.
Dude York got the best response out of the crowd, but that’s par for the course with them. The band plays shamefully poppy bliss, and as such, their sets are imminently danceable. It takes effort to take Seattle show-goers out of their head-nodding stupor, but they accomplish it every time I’ve seen them, and that’s praise-worthy.
Chastity belt’s headlining performance felt exactly the way their new record did: like The Strokes concert none of us young people could afford to go to in high school. The similarity mainly stems from the guitar (lots of crisp, twangy picking) and the vocals (melancholy, and slightly apathetic). It’s danceable if you’re in the right mood — the song “evil” off the new record was a highlight — but their sound tends toward the ultra chill.
Several members of the crowd compared the singer Julia Shapiro to Best Coast vocalist Bethany Cosentino, but Shapiro has much more grit. Case in point: Best Coast would never, could never, have a song called “Giant Vagina” with a chorus where Shapiro belts “Vagina!” with a perfectly ironic yelp. The band’s a lot of fun, and they’ve come a long way in a short period of time. It was nice to sit back and watch them reap the fruits of their labor.
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