November 12, 2014
Speedy Ortiz played Death by Audio
When famed Williamsburg venue Death by Audio announced their final shows, there was a huge outpouring of love and nostalgia across the North Brooklyn music scene. The final shows will feature an equal amount of dialogue discussing the venue as much as the bands that play before the doors shutter for good.
Over the past twenty years, the term indie rock has been spread across more bands than most other genres. The general consensus for underground music has been label as such despite many bands actually being signed to a major label. Speedy Ortiz are one of few bands that can still honor this term and uphold the ideas that shaped so much of this scene. Taking the buzzed out, lo-fi bliss of Sebadoh, Modest Mouse and Pavement and bringing on the melodic tendencies of Built to Spill and the Breeders, the Northampton, MA quartet have delivered on a strong debut album, last year's Major Arcana, and show no signs of slowing their role on administering full blown, scuzzed-out, guitar-centric jams. In a full state of retromania, it would not be hard to picture Speedy fitting in on a bill with any of those bands as their contemporaries or today as influencers. Lead vocalist Sadie Dupuis shines through with her intelligent and sometimes spoken-not-sung lyrics, while heavily distorted guitars and pummeling drums lashed out behind her intoxicating voice. Layers of noise sometimes overpowered the group, yet their tight rhythms were bound close as they collapsed upon each other only to rebuild their sound just as songs came to a crashing halt. "We're gonna play some new stuff" Sadie said shortly into the set, but old favorites got their fair share of love too. The crowd was intense and focused, never really rising to levels of extreme energy, but still devoting full attention. It was an emotionally heavy set (as many will be during the next week and a half), but the band trudged on with reverb soaked guitar swells and raw drum fills. The love and comfort of DBA was widely felt throughout the show as the drummer suggested that the band members go around and recall their favorite shows. "I saw Pile and cried tears of puke" exclaimed Dupuis effectively ending story time in a rather short manner. It was a fitting image for a venue full of the fondest memories.