Yesterday was the type of hot where you just didn’t want to leave the comfort of the air conditioning. As soon as you stepped outside, you would be drenched in sweat due to the extreme humidity. To remedy this problem, my friend, her boyfriend and I decided that, instead of grilling outside prior to heading downtown for our shows, we would just make burgers on the stove and drink as many vodka lemonades as we could in order to stay cool. Our plan was working great and the three of us forgot about the hell that was outside until it was time to call an Uber and get downtown. Instead of socializing outside before they went into the First Avenue Mainroom for the Francis & The Lights show and I went into The Entry for Quiet Slang like we typically do, we said our goodbyes at lightening speed and in no time I found myself in the cool air conditioning of the 7th Street Entry.
Abi Reimold was on stage as I walked into the venue and her voice was the perfect thing to hear as I walked in. With a sweet sing-song voice but lyrics that went way deeper than the beautiful voice, Abi had me hooked throughout her short thirty-minute set. Although she was soft and quiet and seemed to stand as far away from the microphone as she could between songs, there was something extremely powerful about her songs. The impressive range in her voice matched the expansive range of topics that she sang about yet somehow every song was relatable. Every word she sang came from the heart and it made you feel something whether you could relate or not. Her set was both dark and colorful and had me and the rest of the Friday night crowd on their toes throughout it. Being that Abi is from Philadelphia, I’m not holding my breath for a return performance soon but I do know that as soon as she announces a return, I will be in the front row cheering this beautiful woman on.
I made the mistake of heading outside after Abi’s set to get an update from my friends in the mainroom. The crowd as the Entry seemed cool calm and collected but, from what I gathered from my friends, the crowd in the mainroom was a bit more “lit” as the kids would say. I have to be honest, I was tempted to buy a ticket to that show and hang out with them because, well let’s be honest, I was drunk and although there’s no denying the beauty of Abi’s set, I was more in the mood for some dancing and some trouble. I couldn’t make up my mind and God awful heat was distracting me so after a quick chat, I headed back down to the Entry.
When I returned, the stage was set up with puffy clouds hanging off to the side and a wall of clouds concealing a keyboard or something. It was very whimsical and dream-like. As beautiful as it was, I didn’t think I was in the mood for whimsical and calm. I was about to text me friend that I was coming up to the mainroom but that’s when Beach Slang singer James Alex jumped into Quiet Slang’s set with the words, “The night is alive. It’s loud and I’m drunk.” Okay, they got me. Those words hit too close to home for me at that very moment and I took it as a sign that this was the show I was supposed to be at.
I’ve seen Beach Slang multiple times. Their energetic live shows, James’ honest and raw performance, and their “hits too close to home” lyrics. I love Beach Slang but I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from Quiet Slang. Quiet Slang is James’ project where he puts down the guitar and gives us a scaled back, more raw and honest sound where the lyrics, that fans of Beach Slang swear by, reign supreme. To say James is a genius when it comes to lyrics wouldn’t be a stretch. Although I love the intensity of Beach Slang’s live shows, it’s James’ lyrics that keep me coming back. Seeing him perform with only the help of his manager and friend Charlie (who has a truly stunning voice) was definitely a special thing and something that I didn’t know I needed but ended up being everything to me last night.
I’m all about loud and in your face but, as James said about half way through the set, “You can be soft and loud at the same time.” There’s not a better way to describe Quiet Slang’s set on Friday night. Although it was soft and a bit subdued, there was a sense of power behind it. Instead of masking the feelings of the genius lyrics, Quiet Slang gave fans a raw beauty to the them. That beauty mixed with the clouds on stage and the ballet videos that played behind the duo made the set have an almost childlike aspect to it. James explained that the reason for the ballet videos is because of his daughter which added a whole new side to this man that I hadn’t seen at previous Beach Slang shows.
Quiet Slang’s set went on for what seemed like forever but that still wasn’t enough for me. With a couple of covers from Big Star and The Replacements, Quiet Slang’s set was one of the many sets where I could have stood there for hours listening and watching and never get bored. The banter between the two musicians and the crowd was something that just can’t be put into words. It was genuine and fun without feeling fake. It was clear that Charlie and James were more than thrilled to be where they were, doing what they were doing and it was obvious that the crowd mirrored that feeling.
Last night wasn’t in your face. There was no mosh pit, no spilled drinks, just feelings laid out through the microphone and a dream-like soundtrack to back them. I’m very much a person that falls in love with certain bands because of the lyrics so, although I didn’t know last night was what I needed, last night was absolutely everything I needed. There is a beauty in quiet and there is loud in soft. Quiet Slang showed me that last night and I can not thank them enough for that.