Slaughter Beach, Dog finished up their headlining tour strong at Rough Trade in Brooklyn Friday night (9/28). The indie rock slash alt-country group was formed as a side project by Modern Baseball frontman Jake Ewald and bassist Ian Farmer. Following the emo’s group announcement that they were taking an indefinite hiatus, Slaughter Beach has become Ewald’s full time job. Supported by Gladie and Yours are the Only Ears, the night proved Slaughter Beach, Dog to be a socially conscious band who are staying true to creating a supportive community.
The show began at 9 PM when singer-songwriter Susannah Cutler took the stage as Yours are the Only Ears. Accompanied by a bassist, the duo played a short set of quiet songs from their debut “Knock Hard”, which was released earlier this year.
Philly rock duo Gladie followed with a set of songs sans drummer, with the assistant of a drum machine synthesizer that filled the room. Lead vocalist and songwriter Augusta Koch (who also fronts Cayetana) let bassist Matt Schimelfenig (also of Three Man Cannon) take the mic for a song in the middle of the set, but Koch’s voice and presence was the core of the show.
Halfway through the set, Koch took a second to speak up regarding the Kavanaugh hearings, saying, “These are dark times. Remember to support the people you love.” A somber, but pointed cover of Guided By Voices’ “Game of Pricks” followed.
Slaughter Beach, Dog opened with “Phoenix,” the low-key opener of their 2017 LP Birdie. Ewald and co brought an increasingly cathartic energy as they performed two more tracks from Birdie, “Pretty O.K.” and fan favorite sing-along “Gold and Green.” The live band brought more energy to the stage then you could possibly imagine listening to the record. This first grouping of songs concluded with the lyrical powerhouse “Building the Ark” from their EP Motorcycle.jpg.
When Ewald spoke for the first time, he too addressed this past week’s events.
“I’m talking to all the straight white men in the audience. Keep your hands to yourself. Keep your opinions to yourself,” he said. “Listen to the women around you. Listen to the people of color around you. We have directed the conversation for too long, it’s time to listen.”
They then launched into a newer track, “More”, and played a mix of Birdie, Motorcycle.jpg, and a couple newer tracks, yet to be officially titled. Noticeably absent was any material off their debut Welcome, which was the only release to occur while Ewald and Farmer were still in Modern Baseball. It would be naïve to call this a coincidence.
Halfway through the show a rowdy fan shouted, “I love Modern Baseball!” A hush fell over the crowd as Ewald raised his eyebrows and paused. Farmer rolled his eyes and exclaimed a hearty “oh well!” into the mic. Cheers erupted from the audience, and rousing support for Slaughter Beach was made well known. This wasn’t a Modern Baseball show — that much was clear. So if someone was to tell you the band is living in the shadow of MoBo, most of the fans at Rough Trade would tell you they don’t buy it. Ewald and Farmer don’t seem to be giving it too much thought either.
Check out a few more fan-shot pics from the show below...