Tuesday, May 13th was the long-awaited return of Hold Tight! It’d been a few months since their last show, supporting Pedals On Our Pirate Ships back in Feburary. The whole lineup on this local house show was awesome, though.
Tuesday, May 13th was the long-awaited return of Hold Tight! It’d been a few months since their last show, supporting Pedals On Our Pirate Ships back in Feburary. The whole lineup on this local house show was awesome, though. Old Flings was in from North Carolina, and this was my first chance to see Springtime, who I’d heard tons about.
The show started with Bare Thoughts, a Richmond local band. I tried to write about this band once before, when they played another house show, but that show ended up getting snowed out. This time, the basement was a reprieve from the damp humidity of the outside. Bare Thoughts is a three piece with a female vocalist. Their set started off on a melancholy note with a song that had a lot of “oohs” and wailing. At the end, it progressed from a beat that sounded like a heart’s thumping into a fadeout to a very eerie complete silence. However, the next song, “She’s a Ghost”, picked up the pace. This band has been surprising every time I see them. And let it be said, there is just something about them that reminds me of Morrissey. They also covered “Stephanie Says” by the Velvet Underground, but put their own twist on it, with more crisp-sounding guitar than the original.
Springtime played at about 9:30 and turned all the lights off. At that point I got the distinct feeling that it had actually turned night outside, so there was a definite shift in mood. Springtime is a five piece, and I have listened to them for years online and heard a lot about them, so I was stoked to hear them play. Like Bare Thoughts, Springtime opened up with a more thought-provoking, mellow song. It was good music for driving down the highway at night. They cut from that song to a faster and heavier set with choppy vocals that sounded closer to Dischord-style hardcore bands. The band was really dancey and upbeat, and the crowd was into it, but you could tell they weren’t quite drunk enough to go totally nuts yet.
Springtime had a good range of slower songs that remain upbeat enough not to bore you and faster songs that aren’t so abrasive or disorienting that alienate you. Some of their songs seemed to intentionally be a little rough, but their sound is definitely polished enough to let you know they know what they’re doing. I remembered some of their songs from having heard them online, which was kind of funny, like meeting someone from the internet for the first time. Parts of their songs had a nostalgic feel, which seemed to help the crowd get into them. Springtime feels like an appropriate name for this band, as the mood of this season goes well with their style of playing.
I enjoy the social atmosphere shows at house venues seem to inspire in Richmond. Asheville’s Old Flings definitely has a long touring history with bands like Sundials and Hold Tight!, and it was cool to see everyone catching up between sets. Old Flings always blow me away live, because you can tell how long they must practice. Their sound is mature compared to a lot of bands I’ve heard, and the guitar parts were totally more insane than I remembered. Since I had last seen them, they sounded like they’d picked up noticeably in pace, but it could’ve just been the live stuff sounding quicker than their recordings.
During their set, I noticed a strange tinge in the vocal sound that reminded me of Alkaline Trio’s Dan Adriano. They played quite a few songs from their Spite LP, including “T.B.C.”, and a large portion of the audience knew the lyrics. Ultimately, Old Flings killed it. Their sound was super fun and captured the mood I was hoping to achieve at the show that night. The crowd support was amazing, and when I briefly took refuge from the mounting heat and energy in the basement by heading upstairs, I noticed that the cymbals were so loud they shook the kitchen floor. Old Flings are great dudes, and I was excited seeing a picture of them at our hometown donut shop, Sugar Shack, on Instagram the next morning. Can’t wait to see these dudes again!
With Alex from Hold Tight! filling in on drums for Old Flings (their usual drummer was in Canada), I naturally got super stoked for Hold Tight!’s set. I was in the bathroom when their set started because I’d had to wait in a long line, and I had to run down to the basement to catch the first song. They started off super strong, with a heavy dose of super-poppy punk, which is always really fun. Hearing them play for the first time in a while, their Green Day cover set from January made much more sense to me. Surprisingly, they played a lot of songs from Call the Zoo, their EP of short, fast songs from 2011. It’s the record of theirs I know best, and I was incredibly giddy to hear those songs (not embarrassed to say so). Their set actually seemed to be working chronologically through their catalog. Over the course of their set, the tempo shifted a lot–going along at a certain pace, then revving it up for a second, maybe bringing it down from there… It was constantly in a flux state, which was awesome and kept the energy levels up. There was even a little bit of crowd-surfing happening, which was awesome.
All in all, this show was super nostalgic and fun. I couldn’t help but think back to all the times over the years I have seen Old Flings and Hold Tight! play, how the bands have progressed, and all the memories that go along with those shows. Not only that, but it was great seeing new bands in my new hometown play with some old friends. Fun night. Keep it up, guys!