Rae Fitzgerald, Thunder Dreamer and Palehound were presented by KCOU, Hear Queer and The Center Project at Cafe Berlin last Tuesday, Oct. 3. The three bands each brought a unique sound and energy to the stage, ranging from mellow, sweet songs to high-energy dance music.
Columbia-based artist Fitzgerald opened the evening with songs from her album Popular Songs for Wholesome Families. According to Fitzgerald, these songs were about tarot cards, clouds and nostalgia, among other things. Fitzgerald can belt like no other, but she also can restrain her voice, giving many of her songs a gentle and comforting tone. Her voice was complemented wonderfully by Emma Tinker-Fortel’s synth sounds on trumpet and Lucas Oswald’s masterful guitar playing.
Following Fitzgerald, Thunder Dreamer took the stage. The four-piece band is from Evansville, Indiana, and can create a multitude of moods in a single song. Singer Steve Hamilton moved very little and filled the stage with emotion; on the other hand, bassist Alex Wallwork brought an incredible and infectious energy. He danced, jumped and sometimes made you fear for the safety of his bass strings. The four all bring incredibly unique talents to the table and mesh perfectly.
A highlight of Thunder Dreamer’s set was “Capture,” from its album of the same name. This song is lyrically simplistic but still captivates by painting vivid pictures and overall feels sincere. It starts with haunting guitar tones; then the drums and keys kick in and it becomes more upbeat. The contrast between the upbeat sound and the slightly dark lyrics makes this song complex and captivating.
Finally, Palehound took the stage. The three members, Ellen Kempner, Larz Brogan and Jesse Weiss, are connected by shared enthusiasm and passion for what they do. From the moment they walked on stage, it was evident that they were going to provide an incredible set. On stage, their energy is contagious and obvious. From Brogan’s hair flips to Kempner’s dynamic voice, the three were mesmerizing. There were songs that sounded forceful, where Kempner’s voice was insistent, contrasted by songs where Kempner sounded almost delicate. These songs were compelling and full of honesty.
Kempner told the crowd that they had one more song left and began to play their song “Molly,” a fast-paced and upbeat song that nearly has a ranting quality. Kempner cooed, “Ooh, selfish Molly,” at the end of the song and displayed exasperation with the character. The song gives Kempner a chance to display both the range of her voice and her incredible guitar skills. The energy that the trio put forth during this song was practically palpable.
After the song was over, the three began to walk off stage but hadn’t yet left when a crowd member asked if they had one more song to play. The band returned to the stage for a triple encore.
Altogether, the show felt comfortable and fun. It was casual enough that Kempner could ask the crowd why Columbia has a scuba equipment store — the crowd answered that the rivers here have tiny octopuses — and it made for a space where three skilled bands were able to share their talents.
Edited by Brooke Collier | email@example.com