Squid wrapped up NYC run at Baby’s All Right (pics, review, setlist)
Brighton, UK quintet Squid have been the subject of enormous hype over the last year, thanks to their great debut LP Bright Green Field which dropped in April. They also managed to sell out their entire US tour, which made its second NYC stop on Thursday night (11/11) at Baby's All Right. The band's refreshing mix of post-punk, krautrock, jazz, dance-punk and art rock translated excellently to a live setting, which consisted of highlights from the aforementioned Bright Green Field, cuts from their previous EP Town Centre, and a few non-album tracks.
The band's unconventional live setup was noticeable from the moment they took the stage, as drummer/vocalist Ollie Judge was positioned front and center, with the rest of the band on either side. Their fiery, hour-long set contained little banter as the band launched into one fan favorite after another, with songs such as "G.S.K" and "The Cleaner" instantly getting the crowd up and moving; most people yelled along to every lyric. Judge's passionate drumming and unhinged vocals remained a focal point for the majority of the night, as he shrieked his way through some of the band's wilder cuts, including "Pamphlets" and "Narrator," the latter of which closed their set. Even some of the less flashy moments of Bright Green Field, like the drone outro of "Boy Racers," felt even more electrifying live due to Judge thrashing on his cymbals towards the end.
The band also incorporated brass into several songs, with bassist Laurie Nankivell taking up trumpet duties at several points throughout their set, and guitarist Louis Borlase traded lead vocals with Judge for "Paddling." Throughout the night, the band showcased their skillful use of dynamics, as they often transitioned between sections of chaos to calmer, more subdued electronic passages (Judge sported a Yellow Magic Orchestra tee during the set, perhaps a strong influence on the band). Like their Dan Carey-affiliated art-punk counterparts Black Country, New Road and Black Midi, Squid have mastered the art of a dramatic build; the climactic end to "Narrator" had the entire room shaking, as the band brought their set to an intense close that felt nothing short of cataclysmic.
Squid played no encore after their main set, which had many audience members clamoring for more once they left the stage. The brevity of the band's set had some unwilling to accept it was over, which was a testament to how much energy they managed to cram into an hour. Opening for the band was Massachusetts-based rapper Pink Navel, who blended humor and pop culture references with introspective lyricism. Although an unlikely match on paper, his mix of upbeat energy, surreal instrumentals and darker subject matter made his set a fitting setup for Squid.
Squid's US tour continues at Cleveland's Beachland Tavern tonight (11/12), and runs through the end of November. You can view photos and video from Squid's set, as well as the band's setlist, below.
Pictures of night one at Mercury Lounge here.
Setlist - Squid @ Baby's All Right 11/11/21