words + photos: Everly Jazi
Hannah Read stood on stage, strumming the intro for the second song off her 2019 LP, M for Empathy. “Bust” started things out, slow and soft, with the bassline and classic drum pattern providing an outline.
Lomelda, Read’s band, co-headlined with Hovvdy at the Saturday night concert. The two Texan acts just released an EP covering each other’s songs. At Big Room Bar, Lomelda took a turn opening.
Read played the naturally choppy “Tell,” her vocals overpowering all other parts of the music. Her crunchy power chord, muted under her hand, paired awkwardly with the bass and cymbal-kick drum combo. The melody was carried solely with Read’s vocals. The band vamped together a bit then went back to collective mutter.
On “Interstate Vision,” the crowd sang along with every lyric. Read showcased her talent on guitar with walks up and down the neck. A fury of cymbals helped to carry the tune and the bassline bopped in between verses. The instrumentation burst, making way for a very tasteful ending of Read’s lingering, high note.
Read addressed the audience for the first time, asking, “Do you all go to school here?”
The crowd laughed, some joking they were all in the same graduating class. For the last song, Read invited Charlie Martin of Hovvdy up to the stage. Martin played keys under the reverberation of the guitar, the drummer switching to soft mallets. The melody swirled and ended happy.
Hovvdy came on, Martin again on keys and Will Taylor on guitar. The backing band stayed put. Martin’s voice was simple and sweet on “Brave,” the first track off their 2018 release, Cranberry. His keyboard melodies and Taylor’s guitar riffs integrated into the vocals until cymbal hits signaled the rest of the band’s entry. The keys drifted over a jam, as everyone got bigger.
Described by their hometown paper as “pillowcore,” Hovvdy made sure to keep the jams going with each song and stayed dreamy. “In the Sun” began with heavy guitar riffs slicing through Taylor’s soft vocals. The drummer took on a shaker and Martin’s swing melody was a constant. Suddenly, the track shifted into its half-time outro with muted instrumentation and the switch to brushes on the drums.
The band announced that a new album will be out in a couple months. They played their single, “Cathedral,” with Martin on dizzy guitar and vocals. The normally toned down band made full use of the drum kit.
“Is anyone a ‘Meg’ in here?” Taylor asked the crowd.
Someone “knew” a Meg, so the band went on to dedicate their early hit to that acquaintance. In a more developed version of the track, the keyboard waved around Taylor’s vocals, with sass and happy major chords. The whole thing ended with a cacophonous outro, falling in a good way.
Returning the favor, the band called up Read for their cover of her song. The drummer and bassist played a stylized rhythm as she sang “Talk” with Martin and Taylor. The night ended with a new track, alluding to a more fleshed out sound for the upcoming release.