Wild Flag, Hospitality and The Labor Pool @ The Paradise Rock Club in Boston, Mass on Saturday, March 31, 2012.
The quartet that is Wild Flag kicked a lot of sand in the faces of bigots who felt women can’t bring the rock, and they are not ending that particular scirocco anytime soon. They played the same packed to the rafters venue less than half a year ago, and though there’s no new material from the group, the place was at capacity once again. Their debut was a highly charged juggernaut of rock, fueled by the twin guitar attack of Mary Timony and Carrie Brownstein (who filled in some of the time between to do the Portlandia tour), and powered by ex-Sleater-Kinney drummer Janet Weiss and Rebecca Cole on the backline. A couple of new songs were previewed, Brownstein wasn’t quite as animated physically as previously and nursing a cold (she joked that Timony may have to sing vocals on “Racehorse”), and the mood was off to a strange start when some idiot threw a full Heineken onto the stage between the two guitarists and stopped at Weiss’ kickdrum.
Once that was mopped up, it was all business, right up to the encore. As with last time, Timony sang Television’s “See No Evil,” but instead of calling it a night right there, Brownstein handed her Gibson SG to Timony and took a solo turn at the mic for a sure-footed cover of Fugazi’s “Margin Walker.”
Fellow Merge labelmate Hospitality opened with their well-mannered version of guitar-based indie rock. Vocalist Amber Papini’s vocals were somewhat reminiscent of Emma Pollock, and guitarist Nathan Michel’s alternately clean/bristling guitar lines helped the songs stick out a bit from the pack. Some parallels to Real Estate could be argued.
First duties fell to The Labor Pool, which featured a couple of Boston veterans (Skeggy Kendall on guitar, and Bob Lawton on vocals and guitar). Their brand of homespun, Americana-crossed with-garage was very well played, with Kendall in particular very sharp in delivering fast clean lines or chunks of distorted chords. I’m not sure how many people knew who Lawton was, but then again not too many get name-checked as a 7″ single title from Mike Watt, either.