On November 14, fans of indie rock bands Widowspeak and Quilt gathered at The Fox Cabaret for a night of hypnotic vocals and pretty melodies. Most often, The Fox Cabaret is a venue for clubbing. Tonight, however, rather than the usual floods of people dancing to rap and hip hop, this old theatre was filled with an audience swaying in unison to the sounds of moody guitar and synths. To begin the night, Quilt played their signature psychedelic rock paired with delicate feminine vocals. The crowd grew quickly as they played, excited for the next act.
Shortly after, New York indie rock band Widowspeak took to the stage. They mostly played songs from their album All Yours, released in September by Captured Tracks. Since the 2013 releases of The Swamps EP and Almanac, Widowspeak have moved away from airiness and ambience into more upbeat territory. Widowspeak’s confidence as a live act seems to have also developed in this time: here, lead singer Molly Hamilton’s vocals struck a better balance between softness and strength than during their last tour with singer-songwriter Iron and Wine. The rest of the band made their closeness clear by playfully interacting between songs.
One of the most memorable moments of the night came near the end of the set, when Widowspeak surprised photographer Ester Tothova with a rendition of “Happy Birthday” in response to her tweet from earlier that day. It was a visibly special and emotional interaction between artist and audience.
Widowspeak was joined onstage by Quilt for the final song of the set. It was obvious that the two bands had developed a tight friendship during their tour together as they danced joyously and raucously onstage. Both seemed to genuinely enjoy the other’s company, which had an incredibly uplifting effect on the audience. After this final song, the bands exited the stage and the crowd clapped and screamed for an encore. Moments later, Molly Hamilton reemerged on stage to play a solo song from an earlier Widowspeak album. Her vibrant voice took on a moody, emotional tone for this song, and her strummed guitar chords reverberated beautifully through the room. Hamilton’s performance of an earlier piece in Widowspeak’s catalogue demonstrated how the group has grown and served as a reminder of the possibilities that exist for its future.
After the show, Hamilton and the rest of the band joined the audience on the floor. Members of the crowd approached her to congratulate her on her performance, and she accepted their praise graciously and modestly. Widowspeak’s greatest strength as a live act is the intensely intimate relationship they build with their audience, whether by filling a room with uplifting music or by singling out a fan for conversation (or “Happy Birthday”).
Photos by Esther Tóthová