Last Night: Jesse Sykes & the Sweet Hereafter + the Moondoggies at the Showbox

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L to R, Phil Wandscher, No Depression publisher Kyla Fairchild, Jesse Sykes, and Bill Herzog backstage at the Showbox

There's a certain intensity that bands

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Last Night: Jesse Sykes & the Sweet Hereafter + the Moondoggies at the Showbox

  • Last Night: Jesse Sykes & the Sweet Hereafter + the Moondoggies at the Showbox

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    L to R, Phil Wandscher, No Depression publisher Kyla Fairchild, Jesse Sykes, and Bill Herzog backstage at the Showbox

    There's a certain intensity that bands exude when they return to a home stage after touring for a while; they're usually tight as hell and look very relieved to be in familiar territory.

    There's an entirely different--but just as thrilling--energy at play when a band is knee-deep in studio work. This was the case with both Jesse Sykes & the Sweet Hereafter and the Moondoggies last night at the Showbox. Sykes and company are holed up with darkly atmospheric producer Mell Dettmer, working on their fourth album, while the Moondoggies are collaborating once again with wunderkind knob-twiddler Erik Blood on their sophomore effort.

    The resulting sets were strong, though it was evident by the end of the night that the Moondoggies are really tired of playing their more popular numbers "Changeling" and "Bogachiel Rain Blues". Both of those songs were raced through at what sounded like nearly double-time, and while there was nothing wrong with their playing, it was clear that they were much more excited to sink into their new material, which they are hammering out down at Mysterious Red X in Georgetown.

    Jesse's set was almost entirely focused on their new material, which I can't wait to hear in its final form. It's much harder-edged than her last few records, but sharply focused on gorgeous tones and sweeping arrangements.

    Perhaps the most heartening aspect of the night was the size of the audience. Two local bands (with help from opening act Star Anna) bringing in a near-sellout crowd to a room that size says very good things about their futures, obviously. It was a good weekend for local bills in general, actually--the Lonely Forest and Telekinesis pulled off the same impressive feat in the same locale the night before. Good going, kids!

     
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