It was a stacked line-up at Elsewhere on Friday night as Nothing headlined an early show with support from Frankie Rose, Anxious, and Enumclaw.
Shows don't typically have doors at 5:00 PM on a Friday, so when Enumclaw took the stage forty-five minutes later, the venue wasn't particularly crowded. However, those who showed up in time to catch this rising act were treated to a band just on the verge of becoming a prominent name in the game. With a ton of early promise, the band from Washington tore into their set as if they were playing to a packed house. Highlighting all the cuts from their stunner of an EP, Jimbo Demo, the band wrapped up their first week of touring playing as if they've already reached the masses. Their sound channels their Pacific Northwest indie rock roots with sudden bursts of shoegaze and lo-fi vibes thrown in the mix for an entirely approachable sound that never feels too safe. There's grungy guitar work over steady percussion that captures the '90s without sounding like a rehash of other acts that have come before. Their energy set to high, the quartet couldn't have been more thrilled to be there and you can only imagine the rush they'll get and the euphoria they'll capture once they start playing to larger crowds.
Anxious took the stage next, changing things up with their poppy take on hardcore and early '00s emo. Their set felt slightly out of place in the night, but they didn't let that stop them from delivering a strong performance. Branding themselves as "Connecticut hardcore" felt like a daring statement, but a rather accurate description of their style, take it or leave. Like Turnstile or Touche Amore, there's a crossover appeal here that would suit more indie fans and it won't be surprising if they start to play with more diverse line-ups.
Frankie Rose brought the early 2010 vibes back to Brooklyn for another quick nostalgia trip. "I'm probably your neighbor, I live in Brooklyn and love it" she proudly stated as she opened her set (she also made a comment about the early start time). Lit by eerie green lights and a projector that flashed psychedelic mazes reminiscent of those old Microsoft screensavers (I actually mean that in a good way), the production values were unexpected, but added to the depth of Rose's striking synth-rock hits. Lush guitars and electronic drums built a solid mood that did their best to subvert the early time slot when many would rather be taking a disco nap as Rose put it. Melodies were upbeat and tight and a Cure cover felt right at home amongst her staging.
When the lights went down for Nothing's headlining set, the room had filled up and the crowd was ready to feel the noise. Building up their wall of sound with gauzy waves of guitar, a thickening snare drum felt like the unlikely protruding sound that felt a little out of place, but carried the weight of the songs and reined them in when guitars started to billow away. There are moments that resemble the towering approach of Mogwai with guitars soaring to the roof and other moments which recall the alternative force of Smashing Pumpkins, a more driving guitar attack which the crowd ate up. Shifting from dreamy, hazy moments of melodic wafts of sound to a more uptempo snare blasting beat, people began stage diving and circling up in the pit, not a sight I've seen at most shoegaze shows. Some tracks had more rhythm and got the crowd grooving along as well, a full spectrum of sounds that doesn't come across as strongly when listening to the record, but live the band unveil new layers. "It's a little scary to be back up here touring, you know. Not so much of COVID anymore, but so for touring into the middle of this country" they proclaimed at their only conversational moment of the night. The band was otherwise rather quite. A calm focus hovered over them for the majority of the set and while they lived up to the gazing part of the game, they still delivered a raging performance.