text by Sarah Thomas
Ain’t no party like a Vans House Party. In its ninth season, the second in a series of shows were curated by the headlining band, The Breeders. Handpicked for the night, the concert featured heavy hitters like Divino Niño. With their retro, surfy sounds, the group strummed through their dreamy, and sometimes bilingual set. Guillermo Rodriguez was all smiles before strumming the opening for “Maria.” “It feels like a dream to play with The Breeders and Pale Hound,” he said.
The crowd ebbed and flowed as people made their way to the front of the stage or went to grab a beer or merch. With a healthy amount of Vans wearers, the crowd came dressed in casual cool, ranging in ages reflective of the lasting legacy of The Breeders, and the freshness of Divino Niño.
Following Divino Niño, Ellen Kempner of Pale Hound jumped into her set with electric energy. The crowd made its way from the various bean bag chairs or half-pipes in the venue as Pale Hound lit up the stage. Even after snapping a guitar string, Ellen and crew had the crowd transfixed as they powered through their hits from their new album, Black Friday. Ellen didn’t miss a beat. Even after snapping her guitar string on her first song, she showed off her incredible vocals and guitar skills. For an overcast day outside, the crowd still grew in size as Pale Hound went through some of their set. With the energy of the crowd increasing, the love for The Breeders was noticeable among the attendees. “They are one of my biggest inspirations and we would definitely not be here without them,” Ellen said.
During the concert, there were opportunities to look at the art curated by The Breeders. Titled “All Nerve,” the art featured double exposures of collages with masonry bricks in various states of decay and splashes of color. Created by Chris Bigg, the works included, “a number of album cover visuals that were sent to the band in the early stage of art direction.” The same art provided the backdrop for The Breeders who took the stage to a sea of cheering. Preceded by a band member with a small bubble machine, Kim Beal gave a quick hello before beginning. The crowd sang along and cheered when Kim announced they were going to, “sing a few songs from a little album I like to call Pod.” A person near the front of the crowd jumped high into the air as a small mosh pit began. They played classics like, “I Just Wanna Get Along,” and finished their set with “Gigantic” by which the venue was alive with everyone dancing. The lights came up and like any good show, everyone leaving was slightly sweaty and had huge smiles.