Widowspeak & Treasure Island Make Waves at Eclectic

By Daniel Fuchs, Assistant Arts Editor
Monday, January 28, 2013

c/o Wesleying

With the release of their second LP, Almanac, a mere four days before Saturday’s concert at Eclectic, indie rock group Widowspeak was certainly riding a wave of acclaim and hype. Their infectious, hazy sound seems like a no-brainer for a smaller-sized venue like Eclectic. Widowspeak kept the crowd on its toes with their folk-rock-tinged tunes, even in the face of minor technical issues.

First up was opener and student band Treasure Island, whose set shined thanks to a smattering of incredible covers. They have a quintessential “indie rock” sound, a perfect antidote for the intensely mellow sound that Widowspeak would showcase later that night. Covers like “Nightcall,” originally a thick electronic track used in the movie “Drive,” kept the crowd moving and energized. Lighthearted without sacrificing intensity or quality, Treasure Island proved a welcome addition to a show with a hyped-up headliner.

Which isn’t to say that Widowspeak was a disappointment. From start to finish, Widowspeak lived up to the hype of their new album and played a mix of songs from both of their LPs and a cover of Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game.” The band’s ethereal sounds have a powerful quality onstage, and vocalist Molly Hamilton’s bubbly voice perfectly contrasted the heavy guitars and bass.

Unfortunately, the audio quality of the microphones and the hushed tones of Hamilton’s voice made it difficult at times to make out the lyrics. Still, the technical issue didn’t dampen the experience; it surprisingly fit in with Widowspeak’s aesthetics, which are as much influenced by shoegaze groups like Ride and Cocteau Twins as they are by folk rock groups like The Byrds. It was an atmospheric set, from Almanac opener “Perennials” to the single “Ballad of the Golden Hour,” more of an experience by which to be absorbed than to analyze and dissect.

Still, as absorbing and entrancing as the entire set was, there were particularly noteworthy moments. “Locusts,” the standout track off of their new LP, sounded just as sinister (and catchy) on stage as it does on the album. “Perennials” whirled and slithered across the room with its slow, reverb-heavy tones. “Thick As Thieves,” which the band played as their encore, is a song equally suited for a shanty as it is to modern indie music. It was a particularly short set—it couldn’t have been more than 45 minutes—but what it lacked in longevity, it made up for in moody, entrapping melody.

Widowspeak may not be redefining genres or exploring new ground, but Saturday’s concert at Eclectic was a reminder that they’re excellent at building complex soundscapes for audiences. With complementary vibes, both Treasure Island and Widowspeak made for an exciting night of music and a perfect start to this semester’s concert lineup.