The Babies at the Funhouse, Seattle | 5 January 2011
So the Vivian Girls broke up right? I know they haven’t but at this point it almost seems like a foregon conclusion. Usually when a band calls it quits and they start individual projects you hope that each of the new bands will be equal to or greater than the original band. That never seems to happen, but with the Vivian Girls that definitely seems to be the case. The evidence so far: Frankie Rose‘s album from last year was excellent. Katy Goodman’s La Sera project put out a winning single and Cassie Ramone’s new band the Babies had two great singles and now they’ve got an album waiting in the wings due on the Shrimper label early next month.
Wednesday night at the Funhouse the Babies brought their Appalachian tinged indiepop to town. The Babies are fronted by Ramone and Kevin Morby who plays bass in Woods. They both play guitar and share vocal duties. Ramone’s singing showed a confidence that is somewhat lacking in Vivian Girls. In fact she sounded downright inspired and her version of the woman down a holler belting out songs may be one of my favorite parts of the Babies’ songs. The other favorite part was Morby’s guitar playing. His adept picking style added to the rollicking mountain sound the band have.
Songs like Meet Me In the City and Breakin’ the Law were unabashedly fun and evoked something between Lee & Nancy and Kenny & Dolly and John & Exene. The duo were backed with a more than adequate rhythm section that included Justin Sullivan on drums (he played with Ramone in Bossy) and the Funhouse soundsystem must have had its tubes cleaned out over the holidays because it all sounded really good. Don’t let the country and Appalachian references scare you off, the Babies have their feet firmly planted in rock even though Ramone has temporarily foresaken girl groups and C-86. This collaboration between members of Woods and Vivian Girls teeters slightly more towards Woods territory and is all the better for it.
Here are the remaining Babies tour dates:
01/07 Reno, NV – Holland Show Space
01/08 Sacramento, CA – TBA
01/09 San Francisco, CA – The Hemlock
01/10 Oakland, CA – TBA
01/13 Los Angeles, CA – The Women House
01/14 Los Angeles, CA – The Smell
01/15 San Diego, CA Tin Can Ale House