Hop Along celebrated ‘Painted Shut’ with 2 NYC shows (pics from Baby’s All Right w/ Thin Lips & Quit)
photos by Amanda Hatfield, words by Andrew Sacher
Hop Along @ Baby's - 5/10/15
Hop Along released their new record Painted Shut last week (5/5) on Saddle Creek (their first for the label), and brought their tour with Thin Lips to NYC for two sold-out shows in support of it. They hit Rough Trade on release day, also with Crying, and Baby's All Right last night (5/10), also with Quit.
Quit is the current band of 1994!'s Chris Diehm, and they definitely retain some of that band's '90s-inspired emo, as you can hear on last year's impressive demos. I unfortunately missed their set last night, but did see Chris as he was pulling double duty as Thin Lips' guitarist. (Between him and Hop Along's Joe Reinhart [ex-Algernon Cadwallader], the whole bill had former members of that first wave of emo revival bands.) Thin Lips were excellent, and definitely a great match for Hop Along. They're fronted by former Dangerous Ponies singer Chrissy Tashjian and feature other members of that band as well, and they nail the kind of pop punk-inspired indie rock that's having a bit of a moment lately (think Swearin', Joyce Manor, All Dogs, etc). They stand out though, particularly because Chrissy's a distinct singer and has the kind of powerhouse voice that really soars over the rest of the band.
Finally, Hop Along came on. Hop Along have long been the band that even as an opener always had a great crowd there singing every word, and with the steady rise their once-underrated 2012 record Get Disowned has been on over the past three years, it was a pretty triumphant thing to see them now as the headliner of their second of two sold-out shows in the city. And they sounded great (if not better) than ever. Most of the new record rocks a little harder than Get Disowned, with the band's folkier tendencies remaining more in the songwriting than in the overall sound, and other than Frances Quinlan's one solo song towards the end of the set, last night's show was also very much in that rocking mode.
Frances' voice, which goes from delicate singing to an aggressive rasp without warning, was the star of the show as always (Vulture recently suggested it may be the best voice in rock music today and it's not hard to see why). But the not-so-secret weapon of the new songs is Joe Reinhart's guitar. Whether he's throwing in tricky leads over a song's chorus or ripping classic rock-style solos, his playing is as much a highlight of the show as Frances' singing.
Seeing as Painted Shut just came out, it made sense that last night's show leaned a lot heavier on those songs, but they did of course save room for some old favorites. And as good as the new record is, there's only a handful of songs by any indie rock band that consistently get a whole room going like "Tibetan Pop Stars." Pitchfork recently said that song "should be etched in titanium and shot into outer space for safekeeping." If you've seen a crowd react to Hop Along playing it, you'd probably think that idea isn't half bad.
Pictures of last night's show continue below...