Published Sep 17, 2011Concertgoers who showed up at the Waldorf for this four-band bill found it easy to imagine that they were in another era. This was partly thanks to the venue: a decades-old hotel, recently renovated with a charmingly tacky tiki theme. And then there was the music. Portland-based openers Have You Seen Julian set the retro mood with their upbeat take on fuzzy garage pop. The two-part harmonies were bright and the amp tones satisfyingly gritty, with the whole thing seeming a lot cooler after the guitarist took off his sunglasses partway through the set.
The buzz-worthy Chains of Love kept the vintage flavour coming, packing six musicians onto the small stage as they alternately channelled Phil Spector-style pop and psych-tinged soul. The audience members who pushed up to the front were clearly won over by the larger-than-life charisma of singer Nathalia Pizarro, who warbled and wailed while dancing like a madwoman, and even showed off her castanet skills.
Next, Seattle's Seapony conjured up the spirit of classic twee pop with a selection of cute and cuddly cuts from this year's Go with Me. They got some help from a local indie pop lifer when Rose Melberg (formerly of Tiger Trap and the Softies) joined the band for a set-closing cover of the Field Mice's "Emma's House," which stayed true to the gorgeous fragility of the original.
Headliners Shimmering Stars hit the stage after midnight to celebrate to release of their debut LP Violent Hearts. They opened with a version of the Beach Boys' classic "In My Room," giving the song an aggressively noisy makeover. From there, they tore through a selection of album tracks, including the Everly Brothers-esque fan favourite "I'm Gonna Try." The punters ate up every moment, but if they were hoping for an encore, frontman Rory McClure made that impossible when he dove into the drum kit at the conclusion of the set.