March 12, 2019
It was their second sold-out show at the Troubadour, but Cherry Glazerr didn’t show any sign of fatigue a month into their North America tour and with Europe just around the bend. The band’s aesthetic and sound was kitschy—with an attitude. The stage was adorned with a pair of blow-up cherries the size of a fridge and fabric shapes covered in string lights, as well as projected animations: aliens, cherries, and a certain melted sandwich (what else would accompany “Grilled Cheese”?).
Although Cherry Glazerr’s sophomore album came out in 2014, a new generation of youth found something that spoke to them in “Teenage Girl,” and “White’s Not My Color This Evening,” dancing and singing along to every word. For the first song of the encore, frontwoman Clem Creevy grooved her way onto the stage to the repetitive beat of the drums and bass, her voice breaking through to reveal that they were, in fact, covering LCD Soundsystem’s “Time to Get Away.” I couldn’t help but smile.
Knowing that she had graduated just a few years ago from my tiny Los Angeles high school, Creevy’s power and presence in front of the packed club was a reminder of the growth capable in all of us. I might not ever command an audience quite like she does, but seeing what I imagine were years of hard work and intense vulnerability come to fruition on that stage was overwhelmingly inspiring.
Palehound opened their set (and the night) with “If You Met Her,” off of their last album, A Place I’ll Always Go. The song, one I had heard many times—but never live—captivated me so much that I had to put down my camera. I wanted to take in all of the emotion—those twangy guitar riffs and poignant lyrics, and the contorted winces that took over lead singer and songwriter Ellen Kempner’s face. Kempner’s songs really came alive through the support of bassist Larz Brogan and drummer Jesse Weiss. Each member of the trio seemed to exist in their own energetic world, yet the connection to one another was palpable—which Kempner specifically pointed out during her set by acknowledging her friendship with Brogan and Weiss in honor of Palehound’s last day of tour.
Especially notable was Brogan’s performance. Aside from being a very talented and energetic bassist, Brogan shared a smile that defied the “gotta-act-cool” look many rock bands feel the need to put on. Her smile said, “I am so happy to be playing here right now”—so much cooler than the standard rocker apathy.