August 2, 2015
Lollapalooza After Show
Feature with Baby In Vain by Mark Umstattd
To may times do we hear an artist on the radio and are left wondering “what is that sound?” or even watching a video saying “what the hell is going on?” that we are left a little bit confused. The celebrity and the artist become blurred lines that almost prevent us from being able to access the truth of who these people truly are underneath the public presentation. Was she really born that way? Is he bad to the bone? Did she in fact build that ship to wreck?
Now, there are moments of great revelation and moments of great disappointment when it comes to exploring new sound that sometimes even go hand in hand when beginning a new relationship with an artist that our ears just haven’t been prepared for…yet. We hem, we haw, we listen and twist in our chairs searching for that hook or riff which will lead us down the sonic rabbit hole to the heart of the music and, ultimately, the artist themselves.
Baby In Vain is an ambitious project, 5 years in the making, created by one of the Hottest trios to come out of Copenhagen. (That’s Denmark for the geographically disinclined.) Now music is taking a largely digital turn these days, which I don’t think anyone but the purists are really complaining about. But Baby In Vain is bringing something out of the cold northern lands that almost takes up where Joan Jett would have continued her sound were she born the industrial Nancy boy beating younger sisters of Jack White. THESE CHICKS ARE HARD. Not to say that they have fully come into their evolution as musicians as they are still in the studio for their debut album, but they are currently on their second US tour with the Kills, so they are obviously doing something right.
I really didn’t know what to expect from these youngins’ (all under the age of 21) after watching their music video “Muscles” as the images were so wild and disjointed that it left me slightly uncomfortable, not knowing how to absorb the music and its visual presentation in combined force. But, the ambition and the confusion worked well enough to peak my interest into holding an interview.
Hours before the official after show, Lolla hadn’t let out yet, I walked into the green room where the girls were getting ready for that nights performance. Lola (vox and lead guitar), the younger of the tribe at 19yrs. having just graduated high school, was restringing her guitar, while Andrea (rhythm guitar), BIV’s big sister, and Benedicte, drumming jokester, were chillin collecting themselves. The Kills were on the stage at the time for sound check. We talked about their album (release undetermined at this point) of which is being done completely independent. “We are not with a label,” Andrea stated. Meaning their efforts and schedules are done by their booking agent. So, how did they get linked up with the Kills? “Our agent called theirs and they chose us to for support, we knew we were coming threw again, so, supposed it just made sense.”
Heck yeah it made sense! The sound was a perfect appetizer for the main course. When these girls took the stage it was obvious that they were so comfortable and adept at being present and playing. So much so that when they started to make noise the unhinging squeal of the amplifiers primed you up for the explosion. “We like to be loud. Its easier for us in venues this size,” I remember them saying. Repeating bass chords and hook drawn guitar riffs mixed with a grungier blues/punk sound all walked up and down like an angry pirate strolling the ships deck. Their power and electricity was pretty undeniable as they everything but through themselves into their instruments. They were good. Real good. Better than I had hoped for, pumping out power and youthful feminine energy like it was hard candy. When I congratulated them they had just finished breaking down. “It was a good crowd. The Chicago crowd really responded,”said BIV’s drummer.
“Yes they did Benedicte, yes they did”