BY KELSIE EHALT// Priests’ concert at the 9:30 Club began with two disparate but interesting performances. The first opener, Black Myths, was a drum and bass duo, and each member was individually talented, although I did not think that they went together very well. There were a couple moments where they got into a groove, but it would then dissolve back into a cacophony of jazzy drum and bass altered with loop and octave pedals.
When we first arrived at the venue, a young girl, around 14 or 15 years old, came up to us as asked which band we were there to see. When I replied Priests she told us that she was a student of one of the opening acts and would be performing with her during the set. She was also selling raffle tickets to raise money for Casa Rosa. The winner of the raffle would receive a woven piece of art that Mellow Diamond was to create live on stage. I had no idea what live weaving would entail, but I was certainly interested in the seemingly artsy act to follow.
Mellow Diamond was easier to listen to, but still very different from the dancey post-punk of Priests. At one point, Janel Leppin lifted her cello onto her shoulder and played it upside down, creating some very unique sounds by bowing above the nut and below the bridge, then looping those sounds and adding layers of vocals and keyboard. The last few minutes of her set featured three of her students, the one we had met performed solo , and the other two performed together. The young musicians were incredibly talented and inspiring to see. While the students performed, Leppin cut off strips of her kimono and incorporated them into a partially complete string weaving which had colorful sections of other fabrics. By the end of the two songs, the weaving was complete, resembling a blue-skied landscape .
Priests began their set with the punchy drum beat of “Appropriate” from their newest album Nothing Feels Natural. Most of the songs that followed were from the same LP, but they also played a couple of songs from their previous record, Bodies and Control and Money and Power, as well as a few that have not yet been released. My favorite song of theirs, “Nothing Feels Natural” sounded great live; the bass was crisp and clean, G.L. Jaguar’s guitar was precise as usual, and Katie Alice Greer’s vocals were powerful. During a few songs, Janel Leppin came back on stage to play her cello along with Priests, adding a rich background layer to their songs. “Nothing Feels Natural” marked the end of the main set, however the band came back for an encore with “And Breeding” and “Personal Planes.”