On what was a very rainy night, it was raining beats up in Shea Stadium. Insert drum cadence here!
Bad jokes aside, it’s always a pleasure to catch a bill comprised of bands with mesmerizing frontwomen, and/or only women. On this night, Madam West and Quitzow were the standouts, as these ladies fully immerse themselves in the sound, and are amazing performers. Bonus that Sophie Chernin of Madam West, who had a hand in putting the night together, found Quitzow through Noise Love. That’s what it’s all about!
Musically, Madam West sounds like a group of music school kids that went hard on their craft and are going on to do legit cool and feel-good things. The quintet of Sophie, Todd, Mike, Will, and Jory all lock in together so seamlessly live, like all their songs are a relaxed planned jam that they are very serious about in a fun way. They’re so highly skilled their music seems effortless, and they look like they love it so much, but no doubt they have put much work into all of it.
Sophie’s voice stands strong on every single song, both in it’s natural timbre and under all the effects she controls with her hand pedal attached to the mic stand. She clearly feels the music fully whether she’s singing or just vibing to the music her bandmates are making, putting her full body into every movement. It’s also nice that they represent Brooklyn hard; they have have a song that is “an ode to the L (train),” which many of us had taken to get to the show, and probably ride on a regular basis.
Madam West is self-described as psych-soul-sunshine, and I’ll roll with that. They’ve definitely got a lot of soul, and I would even go as far to say they put some funk and jazz influence in their repertoire as well. They’re the kind of band that can be accessible to a broad audience, with a wide range of tastes. It’s pop with soul, sunshine with substance. If you like to vibe and feel good, while watching a strong frontwoman kill it on the mic, Madam West will not disappoint. After their whirlwind of a set, they wound down with closing tune “Couch” off their debut LP Madam West Loves You.
Speaking of strong frontwomen, Quitzow is a bold, innovative one woman show that only Erica Quitzow can pull off. She’s had her electro-pop jams pop up in Veronica Mars, and that show where Jerry Seinfeld drives around and gets coffee with other comedians, among other things. She’s a multi-instrumentalist and a visionary, with mad synth and sampling skills.
Her setup is always a synth on one side, and a table of samplers and effectors on the other side, so she can have both arms extended and moving around octopus style, controlling all the things. For this set, she opened with a violin part before backing into her electronic domain to work her pop magic on a lot of new tunes off her forthcoming album, along with a sprinkle of her seminal tunes with the best longevity. One of her best best attributes is that she’s constantly evolving, and this night’s performance was no different. Stepping out more and moving around the front perimeter of the stage, Quitzow was able to interpret her songs even further, and encourage the audience to get deeper into it as well.
Her entire set was a beautifully orchestrated arc, with songs of frustration and empowerment. “Cut” one of her most popular tunes to date, is a prime example of how Quitzow crafts a pop song with layered vocals, and was expertly placed in the middle of the set. An older song, “Sponsor” once again showcased her violin looping and vocal sass, and the magnificent closer “Golden Light,” really lit up. There was a number of new tracks too, off a forthcoming release to look out for.