Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Belly, August 24, 2016 at the Teragram Ballroom

It was a great year for my beloved girl bands from the ‘90s to get back together, and Belly were probably the crown of them all (or at least Tanya Donelly being active again). (And, yes, I am aware of segregating girl bands (even if none of them were completely). Sometimes I wasn’t attracted to such groups because they were girls but because they weren’t guys.) I had still followed Tanya’s work, even as it got more obscure and sporadic, and she left off playing tiny venues, so it wasn’t likely that she could have come back in a notable way without her original outfit (not counting Throwing Muses, since Belly were still arguably bigger). Believe it or not, Tanya may also be one of the few musical acts who I held as an object of infatuation, beyond just the music, but I had plenty of crushes then and in the time since, and I could still appreciate just the music. The band also hadn’t bothered to put out any substantial new material for this tour, which somehow came to be more legit than touring just to flog a new album that no one particularly wants to hear. Though they still had plenty to play, even off the only two albums they made together (though as many B-sides, which I also knew), and they had as much energy as they did 20 years ago (even if they had to put an intermission in the middle). As always it was the band not just their front-woman, and she got lost amidst the songs and the compact space that they managed to fill (at least giving the appearance of it, if it wasn’t for all the old-school fans physically expanding in the years since, and was really just me standing close enough with enough sweaty bodies vying to get close to the stage to make it seem like it was packed-out), as if to prove that their comeback was welcome enough to bother with it. There was even some mystery, with a few new cuts (to be included later on Dove), burying their few, modest hits within the set like they were anything else, and a lady bassist with her head covered by a cap, who turned out to be Gail after all. (No one needed band introductions, but it's been a while and we haven't always known what's been going on with them.) For as much as I hadn’t looked up much to re-familiarize myself with the band again before the show (as I figured I'd been covered for back then and all the time since), playing their music over and over instead, I also wasn't entirely present for the show: Vanessa and Andrew were going to the show the night before ours so I got a cheap ticket and switched (for $29, then couldn’t sell our original pair for $8 for both) and we got drinks at Plan Check before, then kept drinking at the show, in the usual heavy amounts with them. But these songs had become so buried in my psyche and being and soul since the band’s heyday two decades before that I could ride it out and enjoy letting those tunes carry me and my sweaty, follow concert-goers, no matter what state I was in and how much I might have gotten over my Tanya crush (since it had been a while, but going maybe to prove that it was always more about the music).

Belly’s set-list:
”Slow Dog”
”White Belly”
”Army of Clay” (working title: “Punish”)
”The Bees”
”Low Red Moon”
”Judas My Heart”
”Full Moon, Empty Heart”

”Seal My Fate”
”Now They'll Sleep”
”Feed the Tree”
”Human Child” (working title: “Comet”)


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