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The CHIRP Blog

Alex D writesIn Concert: Widowspeak and Pure Bathing Culture at Schubas (10/31/13)

If one had simply attended any other stop on Widowspeak and Pure Bathing Culture’s national tour throughout the last month, he or she might have experienced something similar to what he or she expected: dancing, general entertainment, and good music by talented musicians who have been categorized in one’s mind as “two bands I like”.

However, if one had attended the Chicago date of this tour at Schubas on the night of Halloween, and moreover if one had not only attended but been present in the venue for the two hours preceding the show, he or she would have had this same experience amplified tenfold. I was fortunate enough to interview Pure Bathing Culture before the show, and by sticking around until the show started, witnessed a glimpse into the lives of not only eight musicians from “two bands I like” but eight individuals travelling the country, performing their songs in a way that’s as exciting to them as it is pleasing to the audience, and just trying to live as normally as possible.

After arriving a few minutes late, exhausted by hours of driving from Eau Claire, Pure Bathing Culture hurried inside wearing street clothes and tired smiles, and rushed to load their gear in while Widowspeak made the last few minutes of the drive shortly behind. Declining my offer to help, it wasn’t until we were cozily relaxing in the green room that Sarah and Daniel cracked a 312 and confessed how the road was wearing them down. But fortunately they had only a week or two left ahead of them. Regardless, they were entirely cooperative for my interview, and you’ll be able to hear that up on the blog soon. Afterward we meandered back to the main room while Daniel asked me about my own music business ventures as though he would be just as interested to interview me as I was him.

Throughout the next hour and a half I sat in the corner of the main room and watched band members come and go for naps, to change into their Halloween costumes – Pure Bathing Culture were gas station attendants from their home state of Oregon, and Widowspeak were the ever-classic vampire, ghost, witch, and mummy – and to greet friends and family. Rob of Widowspeak hails from Chicago and it was truly touching to witness him and the other band members greet his mother, father, and little sister for what seemed to have been the first time in a while with great big hugs and jubilation.

Past the interim of sound-checking, inside jokes, revelry, meals, and naps, the concert itself was also a true delight. Pure Bathing Culture played through the hits off their recently released debut full-length, Moon Tides, as well as a couple older tracks. But this was not a “heard the album, heard it all” kind of show. The band took consistent artistic liberties in the live performance that were even groovier than the already catchy, borderline ABBA-style songs on the album. It was comforting to see that with all of the studio tricks available to anyone with ProTools these days, this band truly had the chops to perform their music live.

Widowspeak finished off the night with their mellow, indie-western style ballads, playing songs off of the new album, The Swamps, last year’s Almanac, and 2011’s self-titled release. The final touch of the night for me was observing both bands watch each other’s sets with genuine interest although they must have seen them twenty times before. I felt lucky to experience the intimacy between these two bands throughout the night, and it is this effect that will make a fan and keep the fan coming back for more.

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Categorized: Events Journal

Topics: pure bathing culture, widowspeak

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