Speedy Ortiz @ The Space, Hamden

Would Hannibal Buress join Speedy Ortiz on stage at the Space? That was the big question floating around Connecticut leading up to the second stop on Speedy Ortiz’ international tour. You see, it is well documented that Buress joined Speedy Ortiz for their encore at Pitchfork’s SXSW Party. It just so happened that Buress was performing mere minutes away from the Space at the campus of Southern Connecticut State University. The stars seemed perfectly aligned to make magic. Unfortunately, lightning rarely strikes twice and Hannibal Buress and Speedy Ortiz passed through Connecticut like two ships at night. While that magic moment didn’t happen, plenty of other magic was created at the Space.

The show packed a wallop of four bands which meant with Hamden’s curfew laws that Blessed State began playing at 7:30pm. The magic in the set was that people actually showed up early to catch the Western Mass four piece. Maybe equally surprising was this was the first time I saw the band where lead singer, Brian Frenette’s yelling was actually audible over the bass, guitar, drums combo. Kudos to the Space for getting the mixing right.

Second up was Krill, the weirdo rock trio from Boston. Bassist/lead singer, Jonah Furman was just barely together enough to perform but being coherent in speaking in between songs was a bit of a stretch. With no one else with a microphone on stage, guitarist Aaron would try to make sense of what Furman was saying and dispense the wisdom to the crowd. In the end, Furman’s eccentricities made for an interesting performance, mixing elements of slacker rock with Ween-like psychedelics.

The transition from Krill to Mitski was less than smooth. Where Krill was like an interesting mess to watch unfold, Mitski was a concept art piece with distinct sadness and heaviness. Musically Mitski is fairly dull but that seems purposeful, to allow Mitski’s beautiful voice to shine. While the performance wasn’t always pleasant, it was compelling.

Finally the long run of seemingly unrelated bands climaxed into Speedy Ortiz. With a record only four days old, Sadie Dupris said “this is practically a hometown show so you don’t care if we fuck up a bunch” before launching into a track from Foil Deer. To this blogger’s ears, no noticeable errors were made. Instead the band mixed back catalog with new materially seamlessly in their hour long set. Their only misstep may have been leaving the stage before coming back out for an encore. With no backstage at the Space, the band helplessly stood next to the stage in full view of the crowd for several seconds before returning to close out the night triumphantly.

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