Live Review: Spirit of the Beehive, Healer…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , — @ 12:36 pm May 11, 2022
Spirit of the Beehive at Slowdown, May 10, 2022.

by Tim McMahan,

I went in with the worst expectations for last night’s Spirit of the Beehive show at Slowdown Jr. based on their critically acclaimed most recent album, released by Saddle Creek Records. Instead, I was knocked on my ass by a band that’s poised to take it to the next level.

Live, SofB’s sound is more conventional, more sleek and, frankly, more rocking. The guitar-fueled five-piece shared lead vocals among three members, but was mostly held down by “frontman” guitarist Zack Schwartz whose vocal style vacillates between Frank Black and David Gilmore. Just as vital to the sound is fellow lead vocalist Rivka Ravede, who owned on bass; and power-angry-psycho vocalist synth dude Corey Wichlin.

Without the clutter and droopy/weirdo effects heard on the recordings, the band is white-knuckle tight on rock songs that have the spirit and energy of early Pixies or Sonic Youth. Fans of the wonky samples and noise effects littered throughout the last album take heart — the band grouped the cluttered noise between songs, playing the prerecorded tracks while they busily tuned instruments or changed gear.

Driving home from the gig, I listened again to Entertainment, Death thinking I might have misjudged the record, but no. It’s just as acidic and distressingly ugly as I thought it was. Give me a live recording of this band over their records any day. The only time last night that they slipped into art-prog territory was late in the set, closing with fan favorite “I Suck the Devil’s Cock” followed by a fantastic version of “Fell Asleep with a Vision” from 2018’s Hypnic Jerks album (Tiny Engines).

Healer at Slowdown, May 10, 2022.

Opening was local super-group Healer fronted by sound engineer/musician Dan Brennan (Ladyfinger), who performed seated behind an iPad and notebook, making me wonder why more bands don’t play sitting down. Their heavy set was punctuated by a sweet tribute to recently passed-away local musician John Klemmensen.

John covered a Ladyfinger song at The Sydney. He actually did fucking better than us,” Brennan said. “God bless you, John. You’re up there somewhere,” he added before the band ripped into the cover of Ladyfinger’s “Dark Horse,” that was a set standout along with the song that followed it, a ripper in many parts.

Solid crowd of (guesstimate) around 75.

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1 Comment »

  • Welcome to being 43 with back problems! Never say “old.” I have actually really enjoyed playing the last 2 shows sitting down. Maybe I’ll keep it that way!

    Comment by Dan Brennan — May 11, 2022 @ 3:27 pm

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