THIS LITTLE UNDERGROUND
I’m good with Tegan and Sara
(Nov. 14, The Beacham) going full-on pop. Their effervescent songwriting was already headed that way a long time ago. What I genuinely love about it, though, is that they’re taking the mainstream.
Yes, they make pop music that’s enjoyable. But, more importantly, popular culture needs
The world is still reeling from the election, and the outlook of the next four years feels like a perilous lifetime. But I just stood in a line that rounded the block to watch two lesbians
rock a big, fanatic and fairly vanilla audience as if it’s something that’s always happened.
I go to loud shows, some of them obscenely loud, every week. And this was a deafening one, but because of the crowd not the band.
Seeing things like this convince me that this current specter of cultural regression is a hiccup, a violent one, but not a paradigm. History at large is moving in another way than these election results, and it’s a much more beautiful future.
It will keep on rolling.
But I’ve seen Tegan and Sara before. Musically, the Orlando debut of opener Torres
was what I really came for. Torres is the musical vehicle of Brooklyn transplant Mackenzie Scott that’s being showered with both accolades and PJ Harvey
comparisons. The references are so unanimous you’d think everyone was just dogpiling. But when you make raw and unpredictable rock music and record your last album (2015’s Sprinter
) with Harvey’s own rhythm section of producer-drummer Rob Ellis and bassist Ian Oliver, well, they’re inevitable. In addition to them, that lauded record also included Portishead
guitarist Adrian Utley. If ever there were a lineup built for mood and dynamics, it’s this one.
All references aside, Torres’ sound is music that’s made to stir, evoke, provoke even. If it happens to please you as it sometimes does, fine. But this isn’t just basic pop ear candy. These are deep, dark, often intense waters.
On stage, all her dimension was alive in a full-band performance that was rich with atmosphere, texture and tension. Even in the lovely stretches, there’s always the sense that it can be knocked sideways – even stabbed and gutted – at any moment, as she did to climax the set. But wherever her music goes, however it makes you feel, it’s pure temptation.
Mackenzie Scott’s only 25 years old but she’s already in the thick of the brightest class of game-changing indie-rock women in years. With artists like her, Mitski,
et al on the rise, things are getting very good.
This Little Underground is Orlando Weekly's music column providing perspective, live reviews and news on the city's music scene.
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