Last month, Tomberlin and Palehound had scheduled two shows at Baby’s All Right that I could not attend due to prior commitments (including shooting the Foals show at Terminal 5 for this blog). But fortunately for me, the second night ended up being postponed to the following month, and moved to a very lucky Friday the 13th, so I felt compelled to make it my first concert of 2023.
Ellen Kempner, who fronts Palehound, performed a lovely solo set on guitar, drawing upon the band’s three LPs including 2019’s excellent release, Black Friday. She also added a few new tracks to round out the set. With her playing alone and seated, I could really hear the pureness of her voice and I also found myself super impressed by her guitar playing. Before the show, I had a chance to speak with Ellen, and she mentioned that she had moved to Bushwick a year ago, so we look forward to seeing Palehound play our fine city more often.
The last time I saw Tomberlin perform was in August 2021, when she opened a show headlined by Lucy Dacus at the Music Hall of Williamsburg (photos and a review from that show by our editor-in-chief Kate Hoos can be seen here). This time, Sarah was accompanied by a full band—Frank Meadows (bass, keys), Adelyn Strei (guitar, backing vocals, flute, clarinet), and Greg Rutkin (drums), who filled out the sound nicely. This was my first time hearing songs from last year’s gorgeous album, i don’t know who needs to hear this…, performed live, which made me so glad I was able to be at this show. It was also wonderful to see Ellen from Palehound join Tomberlin on backing guitar for the last few songs of the main set, which culminated in the rocker, “happy accident.” Tomberlin took shredding on guitar to a whole new level during that last song, unfortunately bursting a blister on her finger. Blood flew everywhere! (Just kidding!)
Sadly, the band opted not to return to the stage for the planned two-song encore because of the injury, so “Natural Light” and “Seventeen” on the printed setlist below were not played. With all the beautiful music and emotion we were treated to for two hours that night, I think skipping the encore was a forgivable minor offense.
Scroll down for setlists, pics of the show (photos by Ellen Qbertplaya)
Palehound setlist: New Song, Company, Bullshit, Dry Food, Your Boyfriend’s Gun, Aaron, Killer, Feeling Fruit, New Song
Tomberlin setlist: Memory, Wasted, Hours, Sun Struck, Tap, Easy, Self Help, Stoned, Happy Accident