Somewhere between home and the Beachland, I managed to lose one of my camera batteries, but I did manage to attain a concert-going companion (NTSIB friend Joy) with a camera phone. We didn’t get any shots of Soft Speaker, but we do have some fittingly atmospheric pictures of HotChaCha and mr. Gnome.
This Chicago quartet, whom my brain persisted in thinking of as the Red Guitar Brigade due to the color of all their string instruments, weaves in and out of styles, sometimes moving from a more funked-up groove to treble-heavy indie rock within the same song. And it may just be my background playing up things that weren’t there, but it seemed at times that the vocals and lyrics were influenced by a dusting of late-’90s goth. While it is easy to hear how a track like “I Stand To Lose My Fortune, Easy” can grow quickly on the listener, Soft Speaker’s encompassing style is perhaps too much for a first-time listener to process at a live show, and they never seemed to spark with the audience.