Half Waif/Forth Wanderers @ Great Scott

by Benjamin Selesnick

Half Waif/Forth Wanderers @ Great Scott

Half Waif/Forth Wanderers
January 12th at Great Scott

By: Kara Kokinos & Benjamin Selesnick

Romanticism of the mundane was in no short supply during Brittle Brian’s opening set at the Great Scott on January 12th. The song “In Touch” off of Verisune stood out with its vision of “empty boxes of food on my microwave.” Victoria Rose’s simplistic setup parallels the lyrical content while letting her ability as a songwriter and storyteller shine.

Half Waif’s live show is introduced by a beautiful, atmospheric unfolding of her recorded material; Nandi Rose Plunkett, Zack Levine, and Adan Carlo explore themes central to the band’s discography and coming release before launching into opening track “Turn Me Around Again.” This is the most obvious instance of tinkering in songwriting, but some elements clearly translate live in subtle ways. This can especially be heard in the different accenting of the driving pulse in “Nest,” as the live interpretation builds the song to new heights and uproar from the crowd. “Know Your Body” takes on an almost wet, sonic atmosphere live and wraps the listener in its protective warmth. The organic is mixed expertly with the electronic throughout the set- Plunkett’s keyboard playing features subtle pedal accents and looping while Levine utilizes a drum pad with his kit, locking in with Carlo throughout the fully fleshed instrumentation.

Before launching into several new songs from upcoming EP form/a, Plunkett introduced the crowd to Trudy, a stage persona crafted to fight nerves earlier in the night with her mother, but she is soon gone and the new material is hitting the crowd with a wall of sound and emotion. The track “Severed Logic” exists in a sort of a self-aware limbo state, with Plunkett stating “my mood is a pendulum.” During our interview, Plunkett elaborated upon this while referencing her older writing, and it’s almost comforting to hear that this has again inspired such a beautiful track. Without revealing too much, it should serve as a warning that the two songs, which were played live for the first time off of form/a at this show, feature lyrics that will haunt anyone who has lost parts of themselves in a relationship.

Embarking on the first night of a four-day tour (before the quintet heads back to their respective colleges), Forth Wanderers headlined the evening. The group, beginning as five teenagers from Montclair, New Jersey, released their newest EP, Slop in November. Just two days after getting written up by The New Yorker (describing Slop as, “confident and untainted”), lead singer Ava Trilling and guitarist Duke Green led the group on stage singing face-to-face in the first minutes of their set. They brought the fun, loose, and angst-ridden aura that they are known for to the crowd in attendance. They continued with the four songs off Slop, each played at a quicker tempo then what was on the EP, as well as interspersed hits off their previous releases, such as Painting of Blue and Blondes Have More Fun. The show, as predisposed by the setting of Great Scott, felt intimate and homey; as though the audience was looking into the band’s home, practicing in one of their basements. Their music is reminiscent of earlier, troubled, but still splendid times, and their soothing polyrhythmic melodies accentuated this even further.