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Archive for the ‘Mal Blum and the Blums’ Category

[ATTENDED: March 8, 2018] Mal Blum

I saw Mal Blum and the Blums back in March of last year.  They were great and so much fun.  I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a band laugh so much, both with each other and with the audience.

They opened for Jessica Lea Mayfield.  I got the impression that the band is now called simply Mal Blum (no more Blums).

Since that performance I have followed Mal’s transgender surgery and recovery on Instagram.  I thought it was really cool that they posted as much as they did to show anyone in need what the process was like.

And now Mal is back.  Mal said they love coming to Jersey (they are based in NYC, although two of the guys are from NJ).  And they joked that they were channeling their inner Springsteen. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: March 20, 2019] Fenne Lily

I was unfamiliar with Fenne Lily before this show.  I looked her up and found that she was a British singer-songwriter who wrote some pointed lyrics.  And frankly, I found out very little else.  Even after the show.  I’m not even sure if Fenne Lily is her real name.  But it’s all irrelevant, because she was a delight.

She came out onstage with a guitar and a co-conspirator named Joe.  Joe played leads to Fenne Lily’s chords (she had all kinds of interesting tunings on her guitar, which, although time-consuming, was certainly appreciated as it left lots of time for amusing stories.  And Fenne Lily had lots of them.

She told us that she has self-released her album last year. She had done everything by herself.  It was like her baby.  And now, after some time she is sick of it, just like a real child.  I’m very excited to hear what her next album will sound like as the new songs were terrific.

 

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[ATTENDED: July 18, 2018] Speedy Ortiz

I really enjoyed Speedy Ortiz’ Foil Deer.  Sadie Dupuis has a great sense of melody (in a delightful alt-90s rock package) combined with excellent lyrics.  Check out this great blurb about Dupuis’ lyrics:

It’s very strange (“Or not strange at all! Hi!” says feminism) that most of the music we funnel into little girls’ ears——even music written by former little girls——is about how women are petty, pretty garbage whose only valuable function is to hold perfectly still in men’s boudoirs and wait for intercourse. “I wanted to make songs that were the opposite of ‘Genie in A Bottle’ or ‘The Boy Is Mine,’” Sadie Dupuis says of Slugger, her new solo album under the name Sad13. “Songs that put affirmative consent at the heart of the subject matter and emphasize friendship among women and try to deescalate the toxic jealousy and ownership that are often centered in romantic pop songs.” What!? Songs for women that actually champion women’s autonomy, reflect women’s desires, listen to women when they talk, and let women be funny and normal and cool, like women actually are?   – Lindy West

When Speedy Ortiz released their new album, they did a mini tour of…ice cram parlors.

As The Key noted:

It was a little suspicious, previously, that Speedy Ortiz’s only tour appearance in Philly would be at Little Baby’s Ice Cream in West Philly to scoop a new flavor, “Twerp Verse Dessert Burst Sundae,” and not to perform.

Then they announced a proper tour, which included a headlining spot at PhilaMOCA.  Amazingly, four days after our show, they were going to open for Dinosaur Jr and Foo Fighters at Fenway Park!  I don’t know how many people arrived early enough to see them, but I have to assume thy were seen by more than the 150 capacity crowd at PhilaMOCA.  And yet Sadie said she was more excited about our show than that one.  And it seemed like it.

Before the shows even began, Sadie was hanging out at the merch table.  We chatted, she sold me a copy of Twerp Verse and even signed it for me.  She was super nice.   (more…)

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[ATTENDED: March 8, 2018] Jessica Lea Mayfield

I first saw Jessica Lea Mayfield (who I’d assumed was a country singer) on a Tiny Desk Concert back in 2016 (it aired in 2014 when she had just released Make My Head Sing…).  She had pink hair, electric guitars and a lot of glitter.  And her sound was decidedly grungy.  At the time I remember thinking that the contrasts she brought–her delicate voice, her simple but poignant songs, her look, and her promise that her shows get really loud–were really compelling.  So when last November she scheduled a date at Boot & Saddle, I was bummed that I couldn’t go.  But then she cancelled the date and it was rescheduled to March.  And so she became my second show in a pretty long string of shows this month.

I really like her latest album Sorry Is Gone.  And once again her look is very different–she quite glammed up on the album cover.  So I didn’t know what to expect when she came out.  And that was all the more thrilling.  When she finally did come out, green hair, blue nail polish, yellow heels and a flower dress, it was just a perfect microcosm of everything I think about Jessica Lea Mayfield.

The surprise came when Audrey from Mal Blum and the Blums came back onstage.  This time she was playing bass for JLM.  If you’re doing double duty on a night, it’s probably fun to switch instruments.  On drums was Emily Maxwell who plays with Daddy Issues.

When Jessica came up on stage, she was unabashedly polite and rather sweet.  She has a quiet voice (in song and speaking) and thanked us all for coming. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: March 8, 2018] Mal Blum and the Blums

I was unfamiliar with Mal Blum before this show.  Mal Blum is a songwriter who plays both solo shows and with the backing band The Blums.  Mal’s songs are great–catchy melodies and darkly comic self-reflective lyrics.  But I am particularly glad to have seen The Blums because the backing band was great and really seemed to infuse the show with a lot of fun (I suppose the solo shows are fun as well, but this is all I have to go on).

Mal was front and center of course on guitar and vocals.  On lead was Audrey Zee Whitesides and she was great–playing wild solos and then backing off to let Mal take center stage again.  Barrett Lindgren was on bass and he was particularly excited to shout Go Birds! (he is from Philly and had been holding off shouting that for many shows now).  On drums was Piyal Basu who was new for this tour (no pictures apparently).  He did a great job–I particularly enjoyed the time when Audrey “encouraged” him when an upcoming tempo change was imminent. (more…)

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