Veronica Falls w/German Measles, Darlings, Tanks Amigo
Tuesday, September 27
Better than: Forgetting an umbrella.
It’s probably appropriate that Veronica Falls’ name brings to mind waterfalls. The guitars cascade; the music builds, then breaks; the melancholy brings to mind gray, misty skies. The London-based quartet’s just-released self-titled debut (Slumberland) is a well-timed autumn release; it’s full of cool, gloomy music dotted with tambourines and covered in airy harmonies.
Lead singer Roxanne Clifford’s vocals sound even stronger in a live setting, where the lyrics about ghosts and misery are brought to the fore; drummer Patrick Doyle and guitarist James Hoare sing backup, and the resulting swirl, while lyrically focused on downer topics, inspires hope and even a little bit of dancing around; last night, the upbeat “Beach Head” had a few members of the audience jerking around early. The thoughtfully reworked, speedier version of their breakthrough single “Found Love in a Graveyard” was, despite the upped tempo, still patient in all of the right places, and the set’s one curveball—a Roky Erickson cover—was well-timed and reverent.
Clifford was clearly psyched at the chance to show off the material from the new album, and at one point she even broke character to giddily throw her arms up and clap—just once—in the heat of a song. They closed the show with “Come On Over,” which focuses on finding love before fall turns into winter; Clifford pleads “Hey, it’s getting colder/ Come on over until we’re sober/ until we’re older” as the drums and guitar rise, first sounding as delicate as lullabies then building into a relentless swirl of harmonies before slowing back down again, like a current that built up only to subside.
The night started off with a farewell performance by German Measles, who straddle the line between classic punk and post-punk. Their emotional set ended with lead singer Nik Curtin holding onto bassist Serge Pinsky ‘s waist, a wistful gesture that set the stage for Veronica Falls’ melancholia.
Critical bias: I chatted with Clifford for a minute after the show, and she’s a real sweetheart.
Overheard: “Why’d they leave their guitars like that? It’s Glasslands. You don’t do encores?!”
Random notebook dump: Nik Curtin (of German Measles) is obviously drunk. I guess I would be, too.