September 14, 2017 @ Institute of Contemporary Art
By: Andrew Goldberg
As a thunderstorm loomed large through the glass windows of the Barbara Lee Theatre, two dimly lit candelabras pooled light to illuminate the stage and harbor below. For a short time, the cold and modern feel of the ICA seemed to melt in the anticipated warmth of Sub Pop’s newest addition, Weyes Blood, and her lush baroque pop waves. For many, the prospect of attending a relatively new space for live music was intriguing enough to make the trek to Seaport, and with that, were eager for Natalie Mering to take the stage.
Opening up the night was a local synth-and-drums duo, Radclyffe Hall. With the booming nature of the metal and glass surrounding the majority of the theatre, the echoing tendencies of experimental songs such as “OMG” or “Rather Be” fit the venue for the most part. On record, Radclyffe Hall’s music features a heightened production aspect that felt missing when featured in such a minimal capacity live. In the future, it would be a treat to see the group indulge in a more comprehensive lineup so as to fully realize their material at shows.
Not soon after an odd intermission, the lights had dimmed and the candelabras brightened. There was an almost collective exhale and immediate mellowing out of the crowd as Mering and Co. appeared from the side curtains, casually situating themselves as the crowd anxiously awaited their start. Though the mix wavered every so often, the mist-shrouded sounds of Weyes Blood rushed to fill every gap the theatre had to offer. The unintended wall of sound surprisingly fit for Mering’s more lush songs, such as “Seven Words” or “Used to Be”, proving to enhance the strong character and emotion in her writing. Mering even topped her set off with a beautiful cover of George Harrison’s “Run of the Mill”, tracing back her influences for all to hear.
With a completely overhauled touring band, I was caught in how solid and in-synch the four musicians seemed, each taking cues from Mering at the epicenter. Flowing between a bouquet of chorusy acoustic guitar and pedal steel, Weyes Blood’s layered sound seemed to take kindly to the atmosphere playing out in the backdrop. For this set, it seemed to characterize the distinctly cozy feeling after a rain, wrapping up a pleasant evening for a series I hope can see success at the ICA.