The Brooklyn-based outfit Landlady headlined Baby’s Alright Tuesday night, commemorating the release date of their newest album Upright Behavior (Hometapes). Half past nine, the first band of the night took the stage: Shy Hunters. The New York native three-piece was led by the confident and striking frontwoman Indigo Street. Her skill and grace, both when straddling her guitar and roaring at an adjacent microphone stand, were comparable but not limited to the erratic precision of Annie Clark’s electric phalanges and the harrowing, hollow soul of Polica‘s Channy Leaneagh. Songs performed like the darkly toned “Echoes” and the listless lull of “Idle Days” hung in the air well after their set. Celestial Shore played after Shy Hunters; their set was raucous and wild and showcased a new song, “Gloria,” which had the three-piece guitar group at their brightest and best sounding.
Landlady came on shortly after 11. The initial five-piece ensemble, two tasked with percussion, opened the set with a dreamy and balmy rendition of “Washington State Is Important.” Frontman Adam Schatz was dynamic and enthralling, and the group played with a reckless abandon and violent spontaneity. Even as one familiar with their record, I was consistently caught off guard by their dramatic, counter-intuitively positioned pauses, the boisterous intensity of whatever song was being played. Before the first of the last three songs, Schatz had invited two members from Landlady’s first lineup onto the stage: a female violinist and Street from Shy Hunters. Gradually, more and more people took the stage, and by the set’s heart-whopping, ecstatic finale both of the opening bands were on stage along with two additional female vocalists. I’ve written about Landlady before, the way his music evokes a specific, spiritual proclivity, an emotional energy that sucker punches you in the gut. Still, I couldn’t quite shake the gooseflesh, or evade the involuntary leakage from my tear ducts, but I tried. As Adam Schatz stood perched upon a bass drum, looming over the crown like some spectral prophet or an all-seeing raven, the stage collectively bellowing the same circular mantra (“Always/ Always”), I experienced a brief but substantive catharsis of the soul.