Speedy Ortiz @ Moth Club 2 scaled

LIVE: Speedy Ortiz – Moth Club, London, 24/02/2024

Where is she? My Gen-X brain had this fanciful thought that Winona Ryder might be hanging out here. Reality bites though and whilst Speedy Ortiz may make knowing nods to the mid 1990s scene they are very much now, and here in Hackney tonight.

Way too young to ever have been part of that Gap generation, the Philadelphia based band led by vocalist and esteemed guitarist Sadie Dupuis alongside Andy Molholt, Audrey Zee Whitesides and Joey Doubek finish the UK leg of their tour with this London headline show.

Tonight it’s all about the songs from their latest album as Sadie explains, “we have a record that came out September 1st – called Rabbit Rabbit – we’re playing a lot from it tonight, understandably I hope!”. 

They’re an unassuming bunch. Coming on like a more cerebral but less explosive Veruca Salt with some Shins-like song structures – there’s nothing flashy here. Indeed, Audrey is so keen to keep them out of the spotlight she pauses to plead, “no strobes, please no strobes”, The stage crew turn the glare away to avoid inducing an epileptic seizure. The music still shines and the slacker sentiment surfs on the wonderfully Pavement-esque ‘Raising The Skate’ from the Foil Deer album, Sadie proclaims “I’m not bossy, I’m the boss”.

Speedy Ortiz have been away a while, but the BBC provided them an unexpected moment from Philly. Sadie explains, they randomly discovered NBA basketball on their hotel telly, “we turned on the TV and BBC1 is playing the Sixers game. Imagine my culture shock! We loved hearing British commentary on Philly basketball…” 

U.S politics is usually a different ball game too. They reveal their political passion, “we’re concerned about the city we live in so when we see local businesses unionising, we’re like “fuck yeah” and when we see local business owners getting in the way of that, we’re like “fuck you”! When we see our local friends, such as Andy Molholt here, unionising all over the place were like “fuck fuck yeah yeah!”We stand in solidarity with unions and picket lines and we’re gonna play a song called Scabs about people we hate who don’t!”.

Still no sign of Winona but Sadie is the star tonight. Continuing confidently with her banter she explains Andy’s wager with her. “I could get five pounds if I said stuff on mic…on the last night in this country”, adding coyly, “will you forgive me if my fake British accent is bad?! He told me to say “absolutely mental” and “insane in the membrane” for five pounds…”. Sadie wins!

Speedy Ortiz @ Moth Club 1
Sadie Dupuis of Speedy Ortiz

More tracks from the archive follow including the cheerleader on speed breeze of ‘Swell Content’ and ‘The Graduates’ – both from 2015 release Foil Deer.

Like a slacker waitress Sadie then draws attention to the tip jar on the merch stall, “for many years we’ve put a tip jar on the merch table for many things we think the money should go to. Since 2018 we’ve fund raised for different charities benefiting people in Palestine – because the need didn’t begin on October 7th.We’re currently raising money for ‘eSims For Gaza’ and I think the five pounds Andy owes me for embarrassing myself on stage should probably go in that tip jar!”. By way of an incentive they play 2013 emo ballad favourite ‘No Below’, “this is a song we don’t always play, we play it on special occasions. We would so appreciate it, if your appreciation for this song, went in a monetary way towards that tip jar!”.

It’s encore time. Except Speedy Ortiz don’t do encores. Sadie points to the sign behind the stage and laughs, “does every band make this joke? I’ve heard “all children need to be off the dance floor by 930 pm” – so that means it’s our bedtime!”. They finish with ‘Brace Thee’ from Rabbit Rabbit. A gentle ending to a thoughtful, absorbing evening with Sadie getting all Aimee Mann with the soaring repeated outro refrain, “with praise washing over me, I’m fine…”. 

So true. Winona who?

Speedy Ortiz @ Moth Club 7
Speedy Ortiz

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