Dressy Bessy, ColourmusicPlush, Friday, Dec. 5
Waiting to see psychedelic indie-rock band Colourmusic was akin to meeting someone in person who you've been flirting with online for a while.
After obsessively listening to their debut album, f, monday, orange, february, venus, lunatic, 1 or 13 for the last few weeks, I was worried that the beauty and full-bodiedness of their recorded sound would disappear in person. Happily, their first-ever Tucson appearance far exceeded expectations.
I developed a crush on the borderline-obscenely loud, driving guitar work; the sometimes too-heavily reverbed lead vocals; and the three- (occasionally four)-part harmonies that made up their live sound. Dressed head-to-toe in white, the four gents from Stillwater, Okla., grabbed the crowd by their collars with their infectious, almost tribal beats. Lead vocalist Ryan Hendrix gracefully battled a malfunctioning guitar strap to pull off anthemic numbers such as "Yes!" and destined-to-be-a-hit "Put in a Little Gas." Their choruses have a tendency to be repetitive, and the energy builds with each successive chant, making it impossible to stand still. (My only mistake during their set was briefly removing an earplug to hear my friend talk. Those who went without ear protection are probably still hearing some of Colourmusic's stylized feedback.)
Headliners Dressy Bessy, a post-punk indie-pop outfit from Denver, are no strangers to Tucson. Frontwoman Tammy Ealom owned the stage with her white-vinyl boots and her direct nature. Her intensity behind the microphone made me involuntarily mimic her facial movements. Her boyfriend and lead guitarist, John Hill (also of Apples in Stereo), provided bouncy melodies while managing to maintain a rockin' edge. Their inventive avant-pop kept the majority of the crowd dancing--and I mean both-feet-leaving-the-floor dancing, especially during the uplifting, exuberant "Left to the Right."
Dressy Bessy's latest album, Holler and Stomp, is loaded with pop gems such as "Shoot, I Love You," "In Your Headphones" and "Pretty Please" that came off far more powerfully in person. Having never seen them before, I expected an almost innocent, bubbly presence, and I was taken aback by how tight, raw and engaging they were as live performers.
The mixed bill proved to be a delicious combination of psychedelia and progressive indie-pop--just the thing to burn off those extra holiday calories.