John Vanderslice @ Independent
Noise Pop at the Independent kicked off on a frigid Wednesday with John Vanderslice and his hand-picked trio of supporting acts.
Black Fiction started things off with a raucous set as the crowd filtered in. Their high energy rock set everyone abuzz.
The Submarines, the multi-tasking Blake Hazard and John Dragonetti – she plays guitar, melodica and the xylophone, he controls the laptop that provides their rhythm section and plays guitar as well- performed their lovelorn and politically distressed tunes to a rapt audience. She’s got pipes, and he can rip it on guitar, but they both harness their powers for the good of their pretty, atmospheric pop songs.
Mope-folk troubadour Damien Jurado took the stage seated with an acoustic guitar, and finished it with an up-tempo song for which he switched to an electric and had his guitarist hit the drums. His sensitive lyrics and southern tinged voice are reminiscent of a great Wilco lyric: “I’m trying to break your heart.” He does it with panache. Jurado crafts gothic
treatises on love, cheating, solitude and highways, and his performance has a certain dark seduction.
Hometown hero John Vanderslice came out with a full complement of band members. He appears on stage like a evangelical pixie, all smiles and sincerely full of energy. Announcing the completion of his new album, Vanderslice put on a performance that hearkened to that feeling of release. He writes painterly lyrics – long, colorful narratives that still end up with memorable refrains. Meticulous in the studio, Vanderslice does not shy away from the stage, and the entire band was on it all night. The majority of the set was the new work, which those in attendance will no doubt snatch up upon release.