Music, Went There

WENT THERE: Chastity Belt, Colleen Green, IAN SWEET, Mini Dresses @ Middle East Downstairs


Though it was a Tuesday, the densely-packed crowd in the Middle East made it seem more like a Saturday in which the Chastity Belt show was the only event in town. The Seattle rockers stopped in Cambridge during the east coast leg of their tour.

Starting the night off was Boston’s very own Mini Dresses. They played through a set full of jangly dream pop, surprising locals who are familiar with their music with some new tracks never performed live. To say they were warmly received was an understatement, and the energy continued as IAN SWEET (formerly IAN) followed right after.

IAN SWEET also exhibited some new tracks, like “All Skaters Go to Heaven” (“except my ex-boyfriend,” commented vocalist, Jillian Medford) and “#23” (an ode to Michael Jordan). They will be released on IAN SWEET’s upcoming album, Shapeshifter, in September. Adding to the excitement, the band celebrated their first show since announcing they will be label mates with Chastity Belt and Colleen Green on Hardly Art. By the crowd’s loving reception of IAN SWEET’s set, it was clear that the band was going to fit right in with the new label.

As Colleen Green started her set with nothing but her vocals, guitar, and iPad with backing tracks, the Middle East was noticeably buzzing with excitement. Green was effortlessly cool as she rocked through tracks like “Cold Shoulder” and “You Could’ve Been an A,” both off her latest s/t album. Her set balanced on a thin line between dancey pop and old New York City punk, which made for a high-energy experience. Green closed with “Deeper than Love,” a track off I Want to Grow Up that she had yet to ever play live. With a fun, poppy, electronic vibe, the song gave Green the opportunity to put down the guitar and show off her abilities as a truly captivating front woman.

The killer opening bands eased the anxious anticipation for Chastity Belt to take the stage, but the excitement was still at an all time high. As soon as the four women sauntered out to their instruments, the anticipation was released into a roar. That level of unrestricted energy on both the band and crowd’s behalf remained steadily elevated throughout the entire set. There was not a single silent moment as fans wailed words of praise at the band, which were always graciously received by the enthusiastic members. Gretchen Grimm came out from behind her drums to take lead vocals on a song, and the crowd, unsurprisingly, went into a unified state of pure thrill. After a relatively short (but not disappointing) set, the vocal crowd was longing for more. Chastity Belt reemerged to play a fan-favorite dedicated by bassist, Annie Truscott, to “all the sluts.” By the end of “Cool Slut,” the count of bras on stage reached two, with one being proudly hung off the bass drum.

The encore was complete after another song, but there was still electricity in the air. Chastity Belt brought a mesmerizing amount of talent, fun, and energy to the show that often goes unmatched. Fans walked out of the Middle East dazed, likely dreaming already of Chastity Belt returning to Boston.

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