music // blonde redhead at webster hall

Webster Hall never disappoints.

Ok, that’s a lie. I saw an awful performance by Cults a few years back - it was so sad to watch I still can’t believe we stayed until the end. Perhaps we were hoping they would get better as the night progressed (which they never did).

But when I think of Webster Hall, I’m generally overwhelmed by the many unforgettable evenings it’s hosted. From Little Joy, my first show (where everyone ended up dancing on stage), to the three of Montreal concerts, to Royksopp, and anything in between, it’s always a ball.

Last week, I got an email from Sophie asking Hortense, my mom and I if we were down to grab dinner near Union Square and see Blonde Redhead at Webster Hall (subject line: “Girls’ Night”). None of us decline - how can we? As the designated “restaurant-finder”, I scour Yelp for some hip grub spots in the area. After narrowing it down to a few options, we settle on Sobaya, an authentic Japanese place specializing in udon and soba dishes. Though the restaurant was packed, our fifteen minute waiting time goes by unnoticeably as we chat about our week. Once seated, we split a bottle of sake (I poured my glass right back into the bottle - it’s just not my drink) and Hortense orders her usual cup of green tea. As for food, the moms orders cold soba with urchins, Hortense cold soba with veggies, and myself hot udon with seaweed. Because, you know, it’s not hot enough in NYC as it is. (For photos, please head over to facile by cécile, my mom’s beautiful food blog.)

After splitting a most interesting assortment of ice creams for desserts (you’ve have to taste wasabi ice cream to believe it exists), we head over to Webster Hall. We arrive just in time to hear Caveman, the opening act who released one of my favorite albums of 2013, play their last few songs. My mom later tells me she’s very troubled because she had imagined the Brooklyn-based band as a group of scrawny, dark hipsters, and instead faced scruffy, bearded men who looked like they could be barbers. They’re fine performers, nonetheless.

Soon enough, the lights dim and Blonde Redhead enters the stage. The setlist is primarily composed of songs from their latest album, Barragán, which I unfortunately haven’t quite had the time to study yet. The band is composed of only three musicians: Kazu Makino and twin brothers Simone and Amadeo Pace. Much like Kim Gordon, Makino, 45, appears ageless as she sways her toned body on stage. What a goddess.

The three-song encore ends with ‘23’, perhaps the band’s most beloved song. I wish they had played more songs from 23 and Penny Sparkle (‘Black Guitar’ and ‘Not Getting There’ are my two favorites). That being said, I had a fantastic time and really enjoyed seeing Blonde Redhead. Barragán seems like a difficult album to play live, but somehow the band has managed to make the arrangements sound perfectly clear. The crowd itself was very nice - respectful, not too rowdy and clearly fond of Blonde Redhead.