Mini Show Review: Sampha Impresses at KEXP

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On Monday afternoon, Sampha held an in-studio performance at KEXP prior to his concert with The xx that night. The performance was free, so I felt it was the best possible excuse to avoid studying. About fifty of us were crammed into a dark room, separated from the studio by a wide window. Inside the studio a piano sat in the middle of the room, surrounded by technicians and cameras. We were told there was no talking or use of cell phones, so that Sampha would be the only sound heard on the radio. Minutes later, Sampha graced us with his presence, taking little time to introduce himself. Though he only performed four songs, each one was astounding to watch performed. Sampha brought no band members along with him; it was only him and a piano. Looking back on it that was the best choice he could’ve made, because it directed attention towards his voice alone. His voice sounded identical to the tracks on Process, only with more emotion and intensity in his tone. This made the tracks he performed- “Plastic 100ºC”, “Incomplete Kisses”, and “(No One Knows Me) Like the Piano”-sound much more emotional than I had previously heard. His demeanor was surprisingly down to earth as well; in between songs he answered a few questions, and he was quite humble despite the praise he received from KEXP’s host and the audience. Despite a short performance, Sampha was well worth seeing and I look forward to seeing a full performance in the future. Sampha’s performance should be on KEXP’s YouTube channel soon, which you can visit here. Until then please enjoy the above potato quality picture of Sampha I took following his performance.

Archie O’Dell

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Show Review: Cherry Glazerr Takes Over the Crocodile

This past Wednesday at the Crocodile saw Cherry Glazerr come through, touring in support of their sophomore LP, Apocalipstick, along with fellow Angelenos Slow Hollows.  The dingy Crocodile Cafe was a good fit for the night, especially for the headliner, with Clem Creevy feeding off the dirty energy of the place with some dirty energy of her own.  The show promised to be energetic, eccentric, and distinctly feminine, and it delivered on all accounts in spades.

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Openers Slow Hollows started things off in a quiet, contemplative mood.  Merging some twinkly guitar leads of the current emo wave with a very post-punk feel, the quintet did a great job as the opener: they were a very well put together act, but they hardly tried to steal the show.  The five college boys stood mostly still on stage, with an energy that was very understated but quietly snuck up on you.  The guys from Slow Hollow may almost look asleep from time to time, but if you let it lull you to sleep then you’ll get shaken awake by some very sneaky musical climaxes.  Standout tracks from the set were “Luxury of Lull” and “Last Dance” from their 2016 album, Romantic.

Though from the same city of origin, Slow Hollows could hardly be more different from Cherry Glazerr.  After the openers left the stage, crew members and some of the headlining band came out to set up their equipment.  And their stage decorations.  Which I didn’t really notice until right before they stepped onto the stage.  Which were vaginas.

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This set a clear tone for the rest of the set: this is a show by women, for women.  Not to say non-women couldn’t enjoy the show, but it was clear from the start that this was a female show.  So when frontwoman Clem Creevy introduced a song with “This song is about period blood and being on your period, and that’s awesome!” I wasn’t really all that surprised.  This is a band that has never shied away from its femininity, and they weren’t about to start now.

The set started weird and ended weird.  With her bassist, drummer, and synth player all onstage, awaiting her arrival, Creevy came out swinging.  Literally.  She swayed on stage in the middle of a wall of noise, swaying wildly and flailing her arms in all directions.  And thus began the set.  A healthy mix of old and new, the show was a very good one.  Creevy made sure to acknowledge her grungy influences from Apocalipstick (the encore was a cover of Nirvana’s “Territorial Pissings,” which also served to energize the hell out of the Seattleite crowd), and also made sure that those influences didn’t ruin the garage-rockiness of some of previous work.  “Grilled Cheese” and “Trick or Treat Dancefloor” fit perfectly along with newcomers “Told You I’d Be with the Guys” and “Only Kid on the Block”.  And all the while, Creevy and bandmate Sasami Ashworth injected a bit of light humor into the set with their banter between songs.

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Overall, I thought the show was very satisfying.  Slow Hollows were a very good, very lowkey opener, who set the stage perfectly for Cherry Glazerr’s jagged vocals and sharp riffs to cut through straight to the audience.  If I heard these two were touring together again, I’d snap up my tickets early.

John Morse

Slow Hollows on Bandcamp

Cherry Glazerr’s Website

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