Philadelphia arts incubator Weathervane Music – aka the folks behind the acclaimed Shaking Through series – are setting up shop in Boot and Saddle every Tuesday night in December, and kicked off the residency last night with a knockout double-bill of Acres of Diamonds and Jesse Hale Moore.
It’s been a couple years since I caught Acres in concert, and back then, their vibe was more informed by shoegaze and Americana-tinged psychedelia. So last night was a total surprise – their live set since returning from hiatus is boisterous and raging, a glammed up mesh of Bowie and Siouxie, with covers of The Stooges (“Search and Destroy”) and Tom Petty (“American Girl”) thrown in the mix for good measure. Any artist who can evoke all those names while maintaining a unique core sound is a-ok in my book. Stoked to have them back on the Philly show scene.
Moore also defied expectations with his nuanced and energized set. Over the years, he has played with Ladies Auxiliary, Auctioneer (whose Craig Hendrix contributed guitar and vox to his backing band) and Nightlands (whose Dave Hartley got a shoutout as a collaborator and a mentor) – but his new stuff is gentle and melodic electronic R&B in the vein of what Rhye and Autre Ne Veut have been doing of late. If there were any doubts over the style vs substance balance of his act, Moore the performer squelches them handily – he’s upbeat, sincere and it’s evident that the music he makes is music he loves.
And it’s not all mellow, either – many moments of the set started quiet and pensive but over the course of several minutes – and with bassist / keyboardist / singer Todd Erk and drummer Tom Bendel on the assist – the sound swelled to loud peaks that had the modest but focused crowd cheering wildly.
Weathervane’s residency continues next Tuesday, December 8th, with Teen Men and Pavo Pavo; later dates this month feature Rosu Lup, Hemming and Steady Hands. More information on the series can be found here.
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