Loop & White Fence, May 7, 2014 @ The Church on York

Last Wednesday I went to a show in my neighborhood at the newish venue, The Church on York.  A few words on the venue before I get to the bands.  First, no need to bring a ticket or your smartphone, they have a list at the door with your name and how many tickets you bought.  They check you off, stamp your hand and you’re in.  As the name denotes, the venue is an old church.  The stage is a raised dais where the altar probably was and any pews the church had  have been removed for a standing only area around the stage.  There are some benches in two recessed areas along the sides of the main stage.  No alcohol at this point (they are trying to get a liquor license), but you can buy water, sodas and snacks for $2 at the back of the room.  There was also a small merch area back there too.

By the time opener White Fence took the stage, the room was full.  I was hoping that Ty Segall would join Tim Presley and crew on stage, but not tonight.  He produced their newest album, and I thought I caught a glimpse of him in the crowd so maybe he was just enjoying the night as a fan and friend.  I had only heard a little bit of White Fence’s collaboration with Segall, so I was expecting something a little more raw and jammy.  The 60s psychedelic influences are obvious, but instead of meandering, the songs were mostly tight, short tunes that reminded me of some early Stones work.  There was one long instrumental jam that was the favorite song of the set for me, but even the shorter ones had some great grooves, I just wished they had worked them out longer!

After a short intermission, England’s Loop got up and banged out a rolling set.  Formed in 1986 and dormant since 1990, they have recently reformed and are touring.  I have vague recollection of hearing them as a teenager as I was getting into alternative rock, but I hadn’t gotten to listen to them before the show.  My expectation was similar to what I had thought White Fence’s set would be, long instrumental jams with plenty of drone-y guitar work.  Like with White Fence, I was a little off.  There was a lot more rhythm than I expected with strong work by drummer John Wills and bassist Neil Mackay.  Lead singer and the one constant throughout the band’s history, lead singer and guitarist Robert Hampson was enjoying himself and had some good banter with the crowd, including stating his preference for the pronunciation of Los Angeles (“Angeleez”).  When he wasn’t talking with the crowd he sang and led the band through songs that reminded me more of Kraut-rock than psych-rock.  They did stretch out some of the numbers with some repeating grooves and riffs.  The band came back for a short encore and then the appreciative crowd poured out onto York Boulevard.  A fun night with two good live bands and a new venue that I’d definitely go back to.

Here’s a video someone took from Loop’s encore (I didn’t take any pictures at this show):



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