The best show of 2022 (GABI JR.,Cryogeyser, Strange Ranger, and Horse Jumper of Love).
My ears still had a slight ring the morning after enjoying the sounds from GABI JR, Cryogeyser, Strange Ranger, and Horse Jumper of Love. The crowd at the Rebel Lounge on July 18th was truly not ready for the spectacular show they were about to experience.
The night began around 8:10 P.M. with the first act from a Phoenix(?) band, GABI JR. The band played a short and sweet set composed of their “quirky” and “gay little songs”. These terms are quoted from the artist directly, however, they encapsulate exactly what the crowd was hearing. Prior to the show, the lead singer shared to Twitter that they would be performing a cringe song at their show. The cringe song in question was “Baby time”, which made the entire audience bop their heads and cheer. The band had a great energy and rhythm while performing. Their live performance was one that makes you think “wow, this band makes so much sense they look so happy to be doing this together”. Gabi Jr, the lead, performed one song about 5 feet from the microphone which sounded freaking awesome! The control and power in their voice stunned me. They gained some more fans from this sensitive, rock performance.
The next artist to perform was Cryogeyser. Unlike the icy cold cryogeysers that occur in the solar system, the Earthbound band gave the audience a raw and emotional set in the environment of a quite warm venue. The Los Angeles based singer, Shawn Marom, performed excellent vocals and guitar alongside the band’s new drummer and bassist. This was the trio’s first time performing together and to applaud their delivery would be an understatement. Their set sampled bits of the trio’s entire discography, with works from Glitch (2019), Love Is Land (2020), and their latest album timetetheredtogether (2021). I had a personal full circle moment when Cryogeyser performed “Leach”, as it was a heartbreak anthem for me. Unfortunately, the person who contributed to that heart break was also in the room…quite brutal if you ask me. However, if you know the lyrics, please laugh at this with me. Between songs, Shawn shared that they are “not good at the banter”, so rather than faking it, they opted to say “banter, banter, banter”. I appreciated the genuine presence and the excitement that they exuded for being on the stage that night, despite being unsure of what to say between tracks. They emulated their hazy recorded sound perfectly at this live show, through expressive heavy bass and vocals that almost felt ethereal. Shawn even commented that they had only tuned their guitar about 3 times, which was a low count in comparison to previous shows. Overall, this band gave a performance that truly was out of this world.
The biggest surprise for the night was the 3rd performance by the Portland band Strange Ranger, formerly known as Sioux Falls. In the past, I had only heard one song by the band. Now after experiencing them in the flesh, I am committed to listening to their entire discography. This indie band shared their experimental sound, which I would say felt like heaven. The speakers roared for the almost hour long set, amplifying the various instruments which included a synth board, keyboard, multiple guitars, and a few sound-effect boards. I can only imagine how expensive the instruments that decorated the stage were. Nonetheless, the audience had the pleasure of experiencing their sound evolution as they played songs from their debut album, Daymoon (2017), as well as later albums Remembering the Rockets (2019) and No Light in Heaven (2021). Not to mention how mesmerizing each member was; Like many others in the crowd, I was in complete awe of this set.
Last to the stage was Horse Jumper of Love and let me say their live sound
was practically identical to their recorded tracks, which felt like an homage to their journey as a band planting its roots in the indie/slowcore world. The set began with “Snakeskin”, which is featured on their latest album Natural Part (2022). This was definitely one of my favorite releases of 2022, so go check it out on your preferred streaming service! The lead singer and guitarist, Dimitri Giannopoulos, shared early on that he was “high on sleep deprivation”. In spite of his lack of sleep, the Boston band was able to captivate their concert goers with both new and old songs. Cryogeyser, whom is a huge fan of the band, joined the audience and made conversation with the band between songs. While Dimitri adjusted his capo, Shawn commented about their dislike for capos. Dimitri acknowledged this by announcing the “Cryogeyser and Strange Ranger Anti-Capo Tour” to their supporters, which got a good chuckle from the crowd in response. After playing their latest releases, Horse Jumper of Love continued the night with their 2017 self-titled album while sprinkling in a single track from their 2019 So Divine album. The night came to an end when the band played the last note of “Orange Peeler” from their self-titled album.
Now, I have been to at least 8 shows so far this year and I have to say this show easily takes first place for a multitude of reasons. Each set offered a unique sound while fitting under the broad scope of indie. Despite the Audio Technicians struggle to match the mixing needs of each artist, I would give the show a 9/10. If you ever get the chance to go to a show for any of these artists, you absolutely should! Until then, you can find all these artists on Spotify, Youtube, Apple music, and other streaming services. Go check them out!
As a final note, I made a playlist with the setlist from Horse Jumper of Love’s performance, and some songs the other bands may or may not have played. I only got to see the set for HJoL so it is not entirely accurate for GABI JR, Cryogeyser, and Strange Ranger. Regardless, here it is: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/5IYxeXmRcgGPuaKRZQQvL2?si=ffaefa8775924f09
P.S. I actually wrote this the day after the show and lost all motivation to continue/edit it so I hope you can still enjoy it 2 months late <3