LIVE REVIEW: Blonde Redhead @ Regency Ballroom, SF 11/11/14

November 13. 2014 | By Leslie Hampton

Blonde Redhead has consistently proven to be strong live performers and their performance at the Regency Ballroom was no anomaly. Many longtime fans in the crowd were vocal about their excitement to see them again. The group originated as a four-piece band and maintains their extraordinary sound, even with their current count of three members. Simone Pace is still one of few drummers that plays with incredible emotion and tone while working in a plethora of loops. Kazu Makino and Amedeo Pace’s dancing and energetic stage presence is also a welcome sight to see after so many years.

Blonde Redhead @ Regency Ballroom,SF 11/11/14
Blonde Redhead @ Regency Ballroom,SF 11/11/14
Blonde Redhead @ Regency Ballroom,SF 11/11/14

The group’s sound and stylistic format continues to evolve, due to production changes from Guy Picciotto to Drew Brown and label changes from Touch & Go, to 4AD, and then Kobalt. With their latest record Barragán, they embarked on something fresh and inviting. With the addition of more mellow tracks, it’s a welcome transition from previous records Misery is a Butterfly and Melody of Certain Damaged Lemons.

Blonde Redhead @ Regency Ballroom,SF 11/11/14
Blonde Redhead @ Regency Ballroom,SF 11/11/14

The evening set featured tracks from these records and most songs from their new record. The production is sleek and yet maintains a particular rawness, i.e. an elegant blend of simplistic melody with complex layers. “Lady M”, “Mind to be Had”, and Penultimo are nice returns to the essence of what drew listeners to them from the start. “Mind to be Had” in particular has their special signature of writing songs with infectious repetition. When set to repeat, a listener would have the same experience of enjoyment. And the crowd was enjoying it. On the other hand, fans of their early work have a harder time accepting their move away from jarring mathy guitars, random outbursts of screams, and the intricate layers but are warming up to more mellow vibes.

Blonde Redhead @ Regency Ballroom,SF 11/11/14

We can appreciate this evolution, because decades of playing demands change. Music is a reflection of the times, which widens our minds to creative shifting. The gut intuition drawn from their music could inspire any dedicated listener to hunt down the perfect Teisco Baritone guitar for starting a band. As hard as it is to be original these days, one could identify just about any selection from their immense repertoire and maybe that’s the definition of creative success. A familiar sound that is consistent, malleable and raw: that’s Blonde Redhead. Pre-order a copy of Barragán or pick up a copy at another date of their US tour.

Dot Hacker from LA are reminiscence of early 2000s Brit Pop with a more straight forward rock/pop edge. Like Blonde Redhead, they have a similar love for Nord synths and mixing acoustic with electronic beats. Pleasant surprise to see Jonathan Hischke from E V Kain on bass. Hischke has also been in Hella, as well as being a touring member of Broken Bells. Josh Klinghoffer is also a newer member of Red Hot Chili Peppers, so needless to say none of the members appear new to being on stage.

Dot Hacker @ Regency Ballroom,SF 11/11/14
Dot Hacker @ Regency Ballroom,SF 11/11/14
Dot Hacker @ Regency Ballroom,SF 11/11/14

Blonde Redhead Setlist:
Lady M
Falling Man
Hated Because of Great Qualities
Love Or Prison
Mind to Be Had
No More Honey
Doll is Mine
Spring and By Summer Fall
The One I Love
Defeatist Anthem (Harry and I)

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