Putnam Palace is a backyard DIY spot that we have featured before and I am happy to report has been continuing to host shows. As I’m sure most readers are aware, DIY spots are constantly under threat of being shut down, tail end of a pandemic or not, and sometimes don’t last very long before they are interfered with. Thankfully they are still going strong (though currently taking a bit of a break during the hottest parts of the summer) and put on an incredible anti 4th of July event on Saturday 7/3 which I really had an absolute blast at.
The bill was a bit of a mixed bag stylistically, but those are really my favorite kinds of shows and always have been. The weather was cool and overcast which made the outdoor show environment that much more pleasant; it was sooo much better than broiling 90 degree heat. I definitely used that to my advantage, getting very into “the zone” while I was shooting, particularly for Vacant Company‘s set. This was the first time I was seeing all four of these bands and it was such a treat because I fell in love with all of them immediately.
Grungy duo Shadowmonster kicked things off with a set of tunes packed with dissonant guitar and complex drumming- as a drummer myself I found myself constantly trying to study the stick work (and thinking to myself that I need to practice more, ha!) and watching for patterns in the intricate fills. Lyrically the songs were poignantly angsty- many dealing with depression and isolation- which is something everyone can relate to at some point in their lives, and particularly over the course of 2020 into 2021. Many of the songs hit close to home for me in that regard.
Vacant Company was up next and played a set that was nothing less than explosive from start to finish. They hail from Raleigh, NC (though their singer splits time between BK and Raleigh) and were unflinchingly political and beautifully intense. With hints of early Fugazi, and the clear influence of Slint in their sound, they also very much reminded me of that particular style of 90s post hardcore that had a bit of an artcore bent ala a band like Swing Kids. This band would have been right at home on Dischord in that era- hell they still would be today! To say I was absolutely floored would be an understatement and it took me a few days to get over it really; I had their EP Decolonize on repeat immediately, not wasting any time and starting on the drive home.
The mathy duo Gorgeous hit the stage next and I was supremely impressed that front woman Dana Lipperman was not only singing in a sweeping, at times operatic voice, but finger picked each and every song. I can barely handle shouting some atonal noise and playing guitar at the same time without screwing something up, and I can’t touch any stringed instrument without a pick, never mind doing all that she was doing and doing it so well. With the clever rhythmic push and pull back and forth of the guitar with the busy and commanding drums, I was even further impressed and I’ve been listening to their 2019 album Egg quite a bit since the show. (I also love that apparently the two members of this band met in 6th grade science class, forming the band many years later in 2017)
TVOD aka Television Overdose closed out the day and was the most fun band of the show with their special brand of “high energy disco-punk songs for your heart and soul.” I definitely got my head bop game going while the rest of the crowd danced (I can NOT dance) and it was a really cool way to close the show. I loved the dance punk vibes and definitely felt and appreciated the Q and Not U influence. The drummer of TVOD also is instrumental in running the shows at Putnam, doing sound for the events, so on point that sometimes he will even hold the mic for backing vocalists!
Live music is central to my core being as a person and while I love seeing bands in many different settings, nothing quite gets to my heart like a DIY show. I am thankful that spots like this exist and continue to survive despite pretty much anything the outside world happens to hurl at us all.
Scroll down for pics of the show (photos by Kate Hoos)