Sunday, September 12, 2010

Hopscotch Day 2: Sharon Van Etten, Bowerbirds & Fucked Up

All photos by Emily Price
By 10:30 p.m. The Pour House was all ready one in, one out in anticipation of Sharon Van Etten. The back half of the room was overly chatty and it’s a shame because they missed a really incredible set.

Van Etten has a new band that gives her songs a fullness that wasn’t there before and doesn’t take anything away from her strikingly honest delivery. There’s a look in her eye that suggests a range of emotions from pain to defiance to joy. It’s impossible to take your eyes off of her. When she comes to the climax of a song, her eyes widen, she looks up and it’s unmistakeable that Sharon Van Etten is as earnest a performer as there is.

She ended her set solo with a quiet ballad. Because of the chatter, the front half of the crowd pressed closer to hear making it that much more intimate. As the last note faded, the crowd roared.

The venue remained full as the Bowerbirds took the stage. Their set was solid and they made the atmosphere of The Pour House relaxed. Lead singer Phil Moore had a small smile throughout the set and seemed to be really enjoying himself. Also on stage was a special guest violinist Rachel Rollins who helped make the live performance just as gorgeous as their recordings. The band ended with "Northern Lights" to a half-full venue. Thankfully, it was the loud half that left so the song came through beautifully.

I made it to the Berkley Cafe just in time for the last half of Fucked Up’s crazy set. Frontman Pink Eyes was on stage with a plastic cup suctioned to his head like some kind sweaty, hairy trash can unicorn. He was posing for pictures, hugging fans and spent most of his time in the audience. He covered every inch of the venue trying to get as many people involved as he could. One thing was very clear: Pink Eyes absolutely loves his fans and they love him back. The night also had someone in a giant bald eagle costume running around in the pit and a cooler of ice getting dumped on Pink Eyes. From the crowd interaction to mic twirling to the raw energy, it was a great reminder of how much fun a punk show can be.


Sharon Van Etten

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