I really love Vivian Girls. The combination of Ramones punk, 60s girl groups, and shoegazer music in a lo-fi setting is near perfect. When I heard that La Sera, a band featuring Vivian Girls member "Kickball" Katy Goodman as the frontman, was coming to Pittsburgh, I knew I had to be there to see it.
First up was Alexei's New Band, featuring Alexei Plotnicov, who I had recognized from the yearly PPP Halloween Comp and who was also apparently a member of the Karl Hendricks Trio at some point. His performance was really funny with lots of big body motions and exaggerated expressions, but you could tell that he and his bandmates put blood and soul into their music. The New Band sounded like weirder versions of Graham Parker and the Rumour or Neil Young with discordant/melodic guitar solos; the big overblown resembled the Dictators in the same "ridiculous but endearing" way. The New Band also had elements of progressive rock, 70's ballads, and jazz, especially when Alexei switched from guitar to piano. With weird songs about cats and crossing guards it was a fun time.
André Costello and the Cool Minors are a really killer band built on the songwriting strength of singer/guitariist André Costello. Shoegazer/country Neil Young is how I would describe them, but for the most part they have a pretty classic sound. André and his band seem to stick to strong, slow pop melodies with occasional outbursts into Evol-era Sonic Youth noise. I really like their approach and the way that they make these classic sounding songs unique by subtle means. It's no wonder that André has an actual record deal with an album on Wild Kindness Records.
La Sera played a great set to a huge crowd at the end of the night; you could tell that they were really into it which is always cool. Katy Goodman swirled around hypnotically and even went and danced among the crowd. They played a lot of the songs from their second album, Sees the Light,, songs of lost/unrequited love. With a slower and more melodic, but also more psychedelic sound, than Vivian Girls, these types of songs sound great especially with Goodman's soft, echoing vocals. The guitar work was excellent with lots of reverb and cool solos, the guitarist on the left even used an Echoplex! Katy Goodman liked my Vivian Girls shirt, but she seemed very focused on La Sera when I asked her about that band. That makes a lot of sense because La Sera is really great. Hopefully they will come back soon(you can get stuff herewhile you wait)!