Words by: Katelyn Baron
I walked into Boot & Saddle, with absolutely no expectations, having never heard of nor listened to any of the bands on the roster for the evening. A true “tabula rasa” or blank slate. I can honestly say that I was pleasantly surprised by the musicians that took the stage.
Local talent, Suburban Living, kicked off the evening with a set full of 80’s inspired synthesized dream pop. Originally from the ‘burbs in Virginia, Wesley Bunch, the creative drive behind the band, recently moved to the area and has been taking the town by storm. The self-titled album was just released in late January and the group has already booked a month long residency at Bourbon & Branch for the month of April. They closed the set with “Video Love”, a song that will take you back in time that was heavy in reverb sound. If you haven’t checked it out yet, watch the video.. it’s reminiscent of kitschy karaoke stock video and totally worth your time.
The Bilinda Butchers, whose namesake is of My Bloody Valentine fame, took to the stage with pastel colored guitars and anime inspired tees. After a few minor technical snafus, the band dove right in to their own take on dreamy shoegaze with an old school ethereal Post Punk aesthetic. The music has a general amorphous, albeit beautiful sound quality, with everything blending together to form one wall of sound. The band finished their set with the rhythmic “Half Open”, and I know I was not the only one who felt compelled to close my eyes and sway to the beat with visions of dreamscapes and far away utopian lands.
The room was filled to the brim and bursting with energy when headliner Craft Spells’ Justin Vallesteros showcased his comedic prowess by cracking a few jokes about their touristy adventures and disappointment at the lack of chocolate coins amongst “hella money” at the U.S. Mint. The crowd rocked back and forth like gentle seashore waves as the band began their set. Their style is laden with lush indie pop dance beats, evoking clear influences from The Smiths, but with a modern, digital twist.
As the mellow vibes and therapeutic electric drone sounds collided with one another a fitting spell was cast over myself and the other concert goers. When they played crowd pleaser, “After The Moment”, the result conjured up plenty of dance moves to compliment the rhythmic energy manifested.