Big Baby‘s new EP may be about “the worst year (guitarist/singer Ali Mislowsky) ever had after graduating college,” but it certainly made for one of the best nights of the summer as new and old friends converged to celebrate Sour Patch.
The third release of Egghunt Records’ “Hatched,” a subscription service doling out quarterly releases from the label’s newest signees on cassette, Big Baby’s Sour Patch is 2017 melancholia and sweetness rolled inside a lush ’90s lo-fi package. With hooky twee-pop vocals from Ali Mislowsky, minimal but energetic drums from Brian Dove and Chris Smith’s crafty guitar riffs, what more could you ask for?
Castle of Genre opened the show, praising the line up as well as the enthused and friend-filled crowd who showed up early to the gig.
Describing themselves as “modern R&B mixed with the rawness of punk,” the balance the band strikes settles in with early 2000s emo and indie, seemingly taking cues from bands like Cap’n Jazz but also not fearing vocoders and other electronic implements.
Brandon Iqbal and Joey Fall’s effected vocals, as well as synth and keys, add some of the R&B stylings, though many of their songs took a more straight ahead pop punk/emo approach. But folks in the crowd didn’t seem to split any hairs as the group quickly got folks grooving and shredded through their set.
Next up Bad Magic performed yet another tight set led by guitarist/singer Julie Karr. On the heels of the video release for “Haunt You,” a staple and standout in the band’s set, they also premiered a few new songs to premiere that got everyone excited about their next release.
Karr was also careful to shout out and raise a round of applause for the band’s drummer, who earlier in the day had given a cat an insulin shot.
“It’s not even his cat!” she exclaimed. Whose cat it was, however, we did not find out — but either way, three cheers for Jimmy Held: American Hero.
When Big Baby finally took the stage, Strange Matter was packed to the door with a cheering crowd. Playing songs predominantly from their newest release, the band was joined by Sammi Lanzetta on bass, adding new depth to their songs.
The crowd danced and bopped as the quartet opened with Dumb Guys EP classic “Still Hurt,” and they kept the energy high all the way through the closing of their set, mirroring the new EP with “Rubber Tree” leading into a great performance of “Often.”
Baltimore’s Wildhoney took the stage to a mass of fog, adding a shroud of mystery to their shoegazey post-punk sound. And speaking of sound, they were loud as hell. It fit their performance well, but it was a serious jump from Big Baby’s soft jangle to the wall of fog and sound from the night’s headliners.
Vocalist Lauren Shusterich shouted out the proceeding bands mid set, specifically thanking Big Baby for inviting them down to perform for their release show. Yes, most bands do that regardless, but it felt really sincere and echoed the really welcoming atmosphere of the entire night.
After a really lovely evening, cheers to Ali and the rest of Big Baby for turning a shitty year into a way to bring folks together to celebrate having fun and supporting each other. That’s really what it’s all about!
Check out Craig Zirpolo‘s photos below:
Castle of Genre