Despite being a college student, I’m pretty much an old man. I watch my Jeopardy every night and I’m usually nodding off during The Daily Show, but every now and then I’m compelled to drag my lazy ass out of the house on the weekdays. Thursday was one of those fated days, with a handful of incredible acts playing in downtown Raleigh including a stellar lineup for GZA’s Liquid Swords tour, I chose the local route with DiggUp Tapes standouts The Lollipops and Jenny Besetzt. While the initial showing was a bit lackluster, as the night went on the crowd got gradually larger and more raucous. While Jenny Besetzt had a handful of swaying head-nodders, by the end of the night The Lollipops were leading Kings in a full on PBR-fueled dance party.
The night began with one of the most heavily lauded local bands of the year, Jenny Besetzt. The band just made their way back to North Carolina for their tour after playing a bit further up north and what a homecoming it was. The band recently added Justin Flythe (formerly of Lonnie Walker) as their new keyboard player, and while their regular drummer wasn’t playing on Thursday the band still proved to be incredibly tight and harmonious. Blasting through favorites from their debut full length, Only, these songs shine in a new light during live performances. The band packs a bit heavier of a punch with live performances, guitar lines feel less ethereal and more jaunting, but the vocals still perfectly counteract that added grit with raw intensity while maintaining it’s dreamlike aspects. Jenny Besetzt continues to impress me with each show I see, they’ve made the leap that many can’t by transitioning their shoegaze-y sound into a driving and powerful live act that not only grasps your attention but leaves you speechless, thirsting for more.
After Jenny Besetzt was Companion, a stellar Brooklyn band that played with Jenny Besetzt in New York and made their way down the coast for their first official tour. The band is relatively new but displayed a fantastic sense of self with entrancing three part vocal harmonies that counteracted their driving rhythms perfectly. Fueled by a tasteful mixture of electronic beats and physical drums, the addition of an electronic percussion sound added an entirely new layer to this already dense and lush arrangement. I must say I was thoroughly surprised by this band, and I think they were equally surprised by the Thursday night outing, as the band’s lead vocalist Pepi Ginsberg brought out a camera of her own to take a big family picture of the crowd. This was the perfect band to transition from the depth and wonder of Jenny Besetzt to the simplistic yet equally invigorating bedroom pop sounds of The Lollipops.
As the band was taking the stage, brainchild Iggy Cosky was frantically writing out a setlist, an image that perfectly encapsulates the essence of The Lollipops. Everything flows together wonderfully yet still feels spastic and urgent. Painfully infectious pop melodies perfectly counteract the gritty lo-fi bedroom recordings and transition into one hell of a live show, Cosky leads the band with a commanding presence, Iggy seems genuinely excited to be on stage and that excitement permeated throughout the once spread out crowd of Kings. The crowd condensed into one tightly packed dance party that was bursting with energy, bouncing along to favorites like “I Love You” and “Wolves”. During the show Iggy announced a soon to be released album, making for their “third release in 8 months”. To put it simple these guys go hard in the paint. This lineup was excellent from top to bottom, and ending with the brilliant pop sounds of The Lollipops was the best way to go out. An incredible way to spend a Thursday night!