Vundabar with Bat House and Lady Pills
Brighton Music Hall – 9/30/2016
An hour after doors, the line still takes up half the block outside of the Brighton Music Hall on a rainy Friday night. The opening band Lady Pills coolly walks onstage as the floodlights immerse them in an otherworldly, green tinge. The crowd nods along as the trio summons for the destruction of the patriarchy; each song armed with barbed-wire lyrics and a tempestuous accompaniment. In stark contrast to their set, as serenely as they came on, they descend.
In preparation for the next band, Bat House, a screen is set-up behind the drumset. The band humbly comes on to tune their instruments and the projections are shone onto the drummer; the kaleidoscopic visuals are tattooed onto her entire being. After a brief introduction from the lead, capped by a tightly-fitted fishing hat, each member immediately plunges into their own state of palpable concentration for the opening song. Broken guitar strings bursting at the headstock, sunflower shirts, embroidered suns, and some captivating fingerstyle guitar-playing, are elevated by the colorful projections. In between songs, the 80s-styled backup vocalists humor the lead, and the crowd, by asking extremely personal questions like: “What’s your favorite mammal?” and “What’s your favorite dwelling?” (to which he answered, “bat” and “house,” respectively).
Bat House holds the crowd with their intricate builds, creating a much stronger connection than the one observed in Lady Pills. A moshing attempt is made at the front and by the following song, a fifteen-man mosh-pit takes up the middle of the floor– understandably, since the drumming solo transpiring is a disorienting and fierce tour de force.
After an impressive set, the stage is stripped down to its previous state, and doused in red lighting. No elaborate projections, no backup vocals– as soon as Vundabar struts onto the stage (one member wearing two pairs of sunglasses), they begin to play. As Brandon Hagen, the frontman, serenades the crowd with upbeat vocals, and a bass and guitar to match in power, the three-man band is welcomed with headbanging. The simple set is reminiscent of the DIY house shows prominent in the Boston area, an unprocessed, raw performance.
Upon reflection, Bat House was unsurpassable at this show; their set was the most elaborate, they diverged into extensive periods of distortion and improvisation, and the drummer alone was mesmerizing– resulting in an exceptional exhibit of their developing talent.