Albany’s favorite musical collective Hospital Corners played The Low Beat this past Thursday (July 13) with an opening lineup that was utterly stacked. The seven-piece drew in a respectable crowd for their headlining set, with the visiting openers craning their necks over the crowd of people and/or sitting atop their packed equipment to watch them play. They executed a number of the classics and seamlessly led their fans through a brand new track. Vocalist Ally Smith from Cannon the Brave guest starred onstage to lend harmonizing vocals to Laura Carrozza, which is always beautiful to watch during songs like the ethereal “Dead Sea” or “Brushed Aside.” The two keep watchful eyes on one another, letting their alternating voices find each other in the midst of building guitar leads, steady drum beats and sweeping keyboard symphony behind them.
Both of the opening acts are currently on national tours and worth following. It would be shortsighted to describe each group’s sound as pioneering, but each brought something to Albany that we haven’t heard in awhile–or ever before.
First up was Lung–a two-piece powerhouse. The Cincinnati duo filled the venue with massive sound using just a drum kit and electric cello. Their eerie tunes captivated the audience, stunned under the power of the deep drawing bass of the cello and steady beat of the drum. Kate Wakefield was a wonder all on her own, holding the gaze of any audience member she could find with crazed intensity and breaking out into gurgling howls at a moment’s notice. Her fingers swept up and down the neck of the cello like creeping spiders, gripping the strings with such force that–at times–it seemed she was trying to draw blood as the fibers of her bow snapped apart. They played a number of tracks off their self-titled album as well as the haunting and frenetic “Brock” — a tribute to the Stanford student who raped a young woman on his college campus and got only three months of jail time. “This one goes out to one Brock Turner,” Wakefield screamed as she furiously sawed at her cello, “who can go fuck himself!”
Hidden Hospitals, out of Chicago, followed suit, playing a mesmerizing set of slow-building, synth-mixed rock that slammed into the crowd with a violent pounding of riffs and drums. They rolled through tracks from their latest record Surface Tension, such as “Rose Hips,” the all-encompassing single that draws early 2000s emo and alternative rock to mind–the synth lead-ups, the satisfying heavy guitar and the vocals that ring out, light and clear. Sure, it’s predictable but it’s comforting. They were sharp to watch, with a precise playing style, active presence and dark instrumentation. In tracks like “Bone Scraper,” the steady crash of cymbals locks in the listener only to explode as the guitars take over and amplify with a deafening power.
It was hard to nail down the sound the trio was trying to achieve, bringing in notes of alternative, progressive and hard rock influences, but that seemed to be the theme of the night. Each band brought their own refreshing personality to the stage, lending their audience a new perspective on the far-reaching corners where musicians are taking rock music–morphing, twisting and grinding it into something really extraordinary.
Photos by Bryan Lasky