Priests w/ Stef Chura and WavelessFeb 12, 2017
After some hiccups setting up the sound equipment, local band Waveless started off Saturday night’s show at the 7th Street Entry with a characteristic blend of punk and more ambient, shoegaze-oriented sounds. It was difficult to distinguish vocals in the drum-heavy mix, but the general arc of their expansive sound was still apparent. Grainy technicolor VHS footage of simple games (dice, origami, cat’s cradle, handclapping) looped continuously behind the band, projected onto a sheet decorated with enigmatic gothic lettering and a sideways peace sign. The sound of Waveless’ live set varied from their recorded music with more drums, bass, and a generally more unruly, punk sound. It fit well with the headlining band’s neo-riot girl style, but lacked the echoey, expansive feeling and harmonies heard on their recorded music.
Detroit indie rocker Stef Chura followed with a lower-energy set revolving around her recent release, Messes. With simple, sparse backing from a drummer and guitarist, Stef Chura’s unique, warbling voice was the major element in this set. Though less intense than Priests or Waveless, this setup allowed Chura’s lyricism (‘Thin like the skin on a lottery ticket’) and delicate phrasing to stand out.
Stef Chura's brand new album is right here:
Priests followed, about half an hour ahead of schedule, with a joyfully, urgently high-energy set. Frontwoman Katie Alice Greer and guitarist GL Jaguar propelled the band’s series of songs with equal parts enthusiasm and skill. Greer was soon climbing on amps, hanging from the ceiling, and generally occupying the stage to its fullest extent while growling the political critiques of ‘Pink White House’; “too pitiful to be obscene, too cowardly to be embarrassing.” She stopped partway through the set to encourage everyone to care for those around them and to care for anyone who is more vulnerable than them. She suggested it as general advice, but added that in the current political regime it is more important than ever to help when you can. Although it was not mentioned by the band, First Avenue’s website noted that 1 dollar from each ticket purchased for Priests’ show would be donated to Casa Ruby, a D.C.- based non-profit offering emergency services including housing, food, clothing, legal counseling, and career services for members of the LGBT+ community in Washington, D.C.
The remainder of the set focused on songs from Priests’ first and only album, Nothing Feels Natural. A departure from the no wave sound they’d cultivated on earlier singles, Nothing Feels Natural has a thoroughly 90s punk, riot grrrl-influenced bent that fits well with the political urgency and intense energy conveyed by the band. This energy peaked in their hit song, ‘JJ’, with the crowd showing the same liveliness, dancing along with Greer. All in all, it was an incredibly energetic and politically relevant set.
You can find their new album that just came out on January 27th right here: