Free at Noon Flashback: Slaughter Beach, Dog’s set mixes sliding and shredding guitar
I love when crunchy bands play Free at Noon. Especially local crunchy bands — that’s just the Cherry on top. Haaaa. You know, those bands that are more thought of in context of packing sweaty basements or DIY venues than playing WCL at an hour when coffee is still vital. And that’s exactly the musical forecast today’s early afternoon set called for, which saw Philly’s Slaughter Beach, Dog closing out the day’s rare local-favorite double-header .
Not only did this change of pace showcase well-deserving, insanely talented artists, it also brought about a refreshingly interesting collection of folks — where a crowd of longtime Free at Noon regulars became speckled with beanie-clad college students.
Just to be clear though, as previous co-frontman of a little mega band called Modern Baseball, Jake Ewald is no stranger to playing big venues. But his new project Slaughter Beach, Dog is an entirely different monster; particularly SB,D’s recently released record Birdie, where acoustic stillness and subtle twang serve as the go-to vehicles of Ewald’s casually intricate narratives.
Playing almost all new tracks from Birdie at today’s set, it seemed from the moment of the sweetly earnest opener, “Acolyte,” that slide guitar and steady beats would completely run the show. Which is actually a fairly accurate recap, and would have been a very plausible assumption by attendees first being introduced to the band.
But these easy Sunday stroll vibes conjured by songs like “Gold and Green,” “Fish Fry,” and “Building the Ark,” sharply pivoted to brief detours of guitar-shredding adventure, courtesy of a mid-way performance of “Pretty OK,” which built a consistent buzzing energy into the hilariously anticlimactic contrast of the chorus’ easygoing shrug. And later, with the ultimate, utter jam fest of the Motorcycle.jpg track, “104 Degrees,” where a wild, prolonged fuzzy outro of blaring speakers, and a sea of collective head-banging beautifully blurred the lines between World Cafe Live and a grunge-y house show — summing up the inherently fun and versatile nature of Slaughter Beach, Dog.
Check out photos from the performance, as well as the concert audio and setlist below. And if you’re going to Strand of Oaks’ Boot and Saddle show tonight, arrive early — Slaughter Beach, Dog opens the night.
Gold and Green
Building the Ark