At Great Scott, TOLEDO and Penelope Isles prove alternative never died

by Sabrina Ruiz

At Great Scott, TOLEDO and Penelope Isles prove alternative never died

TOLEDO and Penelope Isles

October 17, 2019 at Great Scott

The meager amount of people at the Great Scott in Allston did not do performers TOLEDO and Penelope Isles justice. The few people lingering by the bar congregated to the front when the opening band stepped up to the stage. Instead of introducing themselves, the two guys immediately picked up their guitars: one opting for an acoustic, the other an electric. What was next to come cast a magical spell on the crowd of approximately 30 people. The duo’s music was like soothing medicine, with varied electric and acoustic tones blending beautifully. Together, the bandmates harmonized and remained in sync. Halfway through their set, the group introduced themselves as “TOLEDO,” an indie pop rock band from Newbury, Massachusetts. “Represent!” a member of the audience shouted out, just before their formal introduction was greeted with warm applause.

The smaller size of the crowd did not discourage the duo Daniel Alvarez and Jordan Dunn-Pilz as they continued to play their set with pride. The crowd, mainly consisting of adults between 20 and 30, stood listening, drinks in hand. TOLEDO played heartbreaking lullabies such as their songs “Knot” and “Song Without A Name” (literally). Dunn-Pilz messed around with the effects pedal as Alvarez cranked out mini solos on the electric, ending their set with a bang. The group was goofy and interacted with the audience frequently, providing a positive start to the show.

At Great Scott, TOLEDO and Penelope Isles prove alternative never died

TOLEDO. Photo by Sabrina Ruiz for WRBB.

The main headliner, Penelope Isles, came on stage moments after TOLEDO said their goodbyes. Originally from Brighton, UK, this was the band’s first time performing in Boston, coming as part of their North American tour. The band, founded by siblings Lily and Jack Wolter, are still fairly new in the music industry. Their debut album, Until the Tide Creeps In, was released merely three months ago. The group launched their set with the eerie introduction to their track “Underwater Record Store,” with vocalist’s Lily Wolter’s lilting voice carrying the tune. Soon enough, the crowd was up and dancing, whether alone or with a partner. The front row waved their arms and swayed side to side carefreely as the band sang their most laid-back songs, “Cut Your Hair” and “Three.” The band switched up the mood halfway through the set, with drummer Jack Sowton producing an aggressive drumbeat. The band also opted for long lasting pedal effects, prolonging the ringing of the amps in songs like “Round” and “Leipzig.” The band’s chemistry was evident with the keyboardist, bassist, drummer, and guitarist working together seamlessly. The group members rocked the night away, letting the music surround them. Penelope Isles channeled their heart and soul into their instruments, showing a deep connection to music that they easily shared with the crowd.

After a few more headbangers, they resorted to their original chilled vibes, a staggering shift that required some recovery for the drunken and lively crowd that was now growing by the minute. The set concluded with pure instrumentals before ending abruptly. Soon, the magic of the night was over.

It would be no surprise if in due time, Penelope Isles amasses more fans throughout the states. The initial stage of creating a name is never easy for a musician, but Penelope Isles’ prominent heart and passion ensures that their music will one day be more widely appreciated.