Live Review: Wild Flag @ Neumos 11/11/11

photos by Jim Bennett

There’s no better venue to spend 11/11/11 than Neumos, whose sound system at full volume can rattle the walls and shake the floor. Of course, there was no shortage of rock-fueled ferocity for Wild Flag‘s set earlier this month, as the all-girl quartet has proved they can shred like masters before even taking the stage. Their excellent eponymous debut came out in September, and since they’ve been riding a steady stream of critical praise and sold-out shows. Neumo’s was no exception to this rule, with a full turnout to see what ended up being a riotous hour-long set.

The band took the stage and immediately lurched into album closer “Black Tiles,” perhaps as a warm-up for a Seattle crowd known to be notoriously indie (i.e., stand and nod with their arms crossed as opposed to dancing). But by the time they got to their third song in the set, “Romance,” everyone in the crowd was completely losing their minds. With phenomenal stage performances by both Carrie Brownstein and Mary Timony, the duo managed to get even the most hardened hipsters to move their feet. Timony bobbed and swayed while Brownstein jumped and kicked, taking breaks only to roar into the microphone.

While the majority of the set was taken from the band’s sole album, the one surprise of the night was new track “Winter Pair,” a frantic guitar-driven punk rock ditty that burst forth from the ladies’ fingertips like a freight train. The rest of the show was dedicated to favorites like “Glass Tambourine,” “Racehorse,” and “Boom,” all of which (appropriately) deafened the ears and caused enthusiastic, sweaty limb-flailing. Wild Flag is only getting bigger as time passes, and for good reason — but seeing them in a smaller venue like Neumos is an opportunity not to be missed. Next time they come to town, do yourself a favor and get your riot grrrl on.

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  1. Lisa
    Posted November 22, 2011 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    Are you intending your review to be as astonishingly gendered as it comes across? I mean, would you like this band if it weren’t women? Because I’m kind of getting a patronizing “great band of chicks” thing from your emphasis on sex, and as a woman who goes to a lot of shows I’m not surprised, but I am a bit disappointed.

  2. Elle
    Posted November 22, 2011 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

    I was at this show, and now I think I understand why I was so disappointed. It’s because I read gushing articles like this that described their live show as “ferocious” and “riotous”, and my expectations were up. Maybe the other performances were indeed that, but in my opinion this writer is way off the mark — I kept waiting for them to start rocking, but it never happened, ending with a tedious, self-indulgent jam. Yes, it was loud, and there were kicks and hair-tossing, but really the band came across as just going through the motions. I was in the balcony and had a clear view of the entire crowd on the floor, and aside from a small cluster in the first few rows, the vast majority was definitely NOT rocking out. I’m not trying to bag on the band (every band has their ‘meh’ nights), I’m commenting because I’m irritated with this undeservedly worshipful review.

  3. Mimi
    Posted November 22, 2011 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

    Ditto the previous comment. Looks like women still have to “prove” they can shred “like masters.” Um, I would call Mary Timony pretty masterful. She doesn’t need to prove shit.

  4. Lori
    Posted November 22, 2011 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

    Great review – it was so fun. Also thought it was really cool they finished with a Television song. Loved that show and the pics are great too!

  5. Lori
    Posted November 22, 2011 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

    P.S. not really seeing the gender bias… the commenter above is noting.

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