50 Foot Wave at the Iron Horse Music Hall

Last night Jenn and I braved the newly arrived cold weather to catch Kristin Hersh’s new band, 50 Foot Wave at the Iron Horse in Northampton, MA.

This was an odd matchup to begin with, as I always think of the Iron Horse as being a venue better suited to a quieter sort of music than the loud, punk-ish rock that 50 Foot Wave is doing. The Dresden Dolls show there last winter was good though, and this was the easiest show on this leg of the tour for us to get to, so we gave it a shot.

The show was a later one, so we were able to avoid eating the less-than-stellar Iron Horse food, which is always a good thing. We were still the first ones in line when the doors opened at 8:00, and I was surprised to see how few people were there. More arrived as the evening went on, but it still ended up being a sparsely attended performance. I guess a cold Tuesday night, a week and a half before Christmas, in a college town (meaning those students who were still around had things like papers and finals to worry about) might not have been the auspicious time for a show.

Anyway, the opening act was The So-and-So’s, a group out of Boston fronted by Meghan Toohey. I was surprised to find that they were actually good and I actually liked them, both of which tend to be rare occurrences when dealing with opening bands. They’d lost their drummer not too long ago, so the band was just Meghan on vocals and guitars, Rodrigo “Romo” Monterrey on bass and background vocals, and a drum machine. Normally I tend to cringe at things like that, but Rodrigo’s bass playing kept the rhythm part of things from sounding Casio-like, and Meghan’s singing and guitar playing were darned good. Their music was something on the line between rock and pop, with lots of good guitar hooks and good lyrics. Quite tasty. Oh, and definite bonus points to Rodrigo for later loaning his bass to Bernard, whose own apparently broke during soundcheck. I’m probably going to pick up their debut CD at some point, and I recommend that the rest of you check them out.

Then it was on to the main act, 50 Foot Wave, which is Kristin Hersh, Bernard Georges (who played bass with Kristin in Throwing Muses), and Rob Ahlers on drums. Their first mini-album struck me as basically being harder, louder, faster Throwing Muses with more of a punk attitude, and that’s pretty much the way they were live too. The energy wasn’t as high as it likely would have been with a bigger crowd at more of a rock club, but they still put on a very good show. Honestly, I think I’d rather see either a Throwing Muses show (though that’s unlikely to happen again) or one of Kristin’s solo shows, but 50 Foot Wave was still a lot of fun, and I’m glad I went. I’m also glad that I remembered to bring my earplugs.

2 Responses to “50 Foot Wave at the Iron Horse Music Hall”

  1. woj Says:

    yep, “harder, louder, faster Throwing Muses with more of a punk attitude” pretty much sums it up though i would say it’s more of a rawk attitude than a punk one. i, too, would rather see throwing muses but 50′ wave isn’t a bad alternative by any means.

  2. Michael Says:

    It’s probably their use of the word punk in press releases and such that have me using it, but you’re right, it’s more of a rawk thing.