The ripping riff masters Ex Hex came to Brooklyn’s expansive playground Elsewhere to rock the socks off everyone in the sold out crowd. This terrific trio is comprised of fabulous rockers like Fire Tapes bassist Betsy Wright, The Aquarium drummer Laura Harris, and is mostly fronted by the modern rock legend Mary Timony, who started her career in the early 90’s DC punk band Autoclave, then captured hearts with the indie pop band Helium; then did some solo stuff through the early 00’s, and later joined the supergroup White Flag, but since about 2012 she has been killing it with this band, and their first album Rips from 2014 still feels like pure rock magic. Now they are supporting what is absolutely my new favorite of the year, the sci-fi concept love album It’s Real.
To help shine on the Brooklyn stage, they brought along a couple staples of the local rock cuisine. First up was one of the hardest working bands on the Big Apple’s music scene; the rowdy power trio THICK. This triad of trouble is comprised of Nikki Sisti on guitar and vocals, Kate Black on bass, and Shari Page on drums, and to watch them whirl and bounce about the stage, you’d think they are a party band for delinquent demons, but many of their songs actually carry a surprising amount of emotional weight with them, and they always seem to manage to pump up a crowd. This trinity just released their third EP Would You Rather?, which is their first release since signing to Epitaph Records, and they continue to have the superhuman energy of boundless bouncing Tiggers.
Next up, was a supergroup of NYC indie rock greatness called Versus. At the core, this band is comprised of three Baluyut brothers; guitarists Richard and James, with Edward on drums, with Fontaine Toups on bass. This band hasn’t been super active for awhile, I remember seeing their first show in years a few lifetimes back at Shea Stadium, but lately they seemed to be amping up the action, complete with a new EP Ex-Nihilo, which is supposedly going to mature into a gorgeous flowering LP this Summer. Richard and Edward were previously in an 80’s group of moody excellence called Flower, and James also had a beloved band before called +/- (or Plus/Minus to some), and both of those bands will also apparently also release new albums in the near future, so it appears these brothers in arms have really arisen from the ashes Phoenix-like. They played the new album in its entirety and a few mid 90’s chestnuts afterwards, but it was wonderfully telling that many in attendance clearly knew their songs by heart, but considering their tight connection to the 90’s experimental indie pop scene, it really seems only natural that there would be more retro-love to give.
Ex Hex came out and they were clearly going full speed with the unapologetic 80’s neon-illuminated super fantasia extravaganza, and it all was going to be totally awesome. They basically mixed up the two albums for the setlist, but all the songs were composed of the same brand of pure totally tubular magic juice, full of power chords, echoes, overdrives, and phasers around every corner, and each one had the makings of a stadium rocker classic. If you’re looking for a guitar-crushing rock experience full of catchy pop dreams, you should definitely not miss this band when they come full-steam ahead into your town.
Article: Dean Keim