Indie Rocker, Juliana Hatfield with Dean Fisher and Todd Philips played to a packed house on opening night of the Pussycat Tour in New Haven, making her return to Connecticut a successful one.
Juliana Hatfield has been an icon in the music industry for over 25 years as an Alternative and Indie Rock musician. Hatfield has over her career played in bands like the Lemonheads and Blake Babies to name a few. She also, started her own band The Juliana Hatfield Three which featured Dean Fisher on bass and Todd Phillips on drums which had a short run, but they got back together in 2014. She has recorded over 12 solo albums and 2 with the Juliana Hatfield Three plus countless more with her other projects.
At Café 9 in New Haven, CT the quant local bar was packed to see Hatfield and her Juliana Hatfield Three band members, Fisher and Philips. Fans were seated on stools at small tables and some standing in front of the stage to wait to get a glimpse of Hatfield.
To start the night off was local New Haven, Connecticut band Ports of Spain. The band made up of only drummer and lead singer, Sam Carlson and guitarist IIya Gitelman had many fouled at first as they sounded like a full band. The band using octave pedals and loops to help gain a fuller sound was embraced by the fans as they played their set. Ports of Spain has a feel good vibe to their music with a light hearted sound that still has a strong root in Rock.
Ports of Spain is a unique band like no other that has the talent to back them up as they are not scared to take risk musically. Carlson is a talented drummer and singer and has the ability to pull off both at the same time making it look easy while having fun while doing so. Gitelman is defiantly skilled at his craft being able to juggle playing guitar and being in control of the loops and creating a bigger sound for the band.
If there is one thing to be said, Ports of Spain is a band worth seeing and has a bright future in the music scene.
After Ports of Spain left the stage a little while after Hatfield, Fisher and Philips graced the stage tuning their instrument and getting ready for the show. Most bands like the element of making a grand entrance but this act proved that Hatfield, Philips and Fisher are seasoned musicians who care more about making sure all things are in order for a great show.
As Hatfield, Philips and Fisher were ready to start their first show of the Pussycat Tour the crowd started clapping and cheering excited to see what the set would entail. Hatfield stated “Good Evening, Thank you for coming. We’re going to play some songs for you”. The band started in on their first song of the night “I Got No Idols” from the album that put Hatfield on the map with the Juliana Hatfield Three, Become What You Are.
As the song ended the crowd went wild and “Get in Line” began. What Hatfield brings to the table vocally is very distinctive which has made her famous. She has a melodic gentler tone with the ability to show power and vulnerability when she sings that registers great live. Fans at the show truly were able to feel every emotion as Hatfield sang the lyrics to her songs.
During the set Philips and Fisher provided a steady percussion session. Fischer sang back up on some of the songs. Hatfield and the band were very connected and they played off each other well. Since it was the first night of the tour fans got to witness some moments where the band had to change some things up and work some things out and it showed the authenticity and realness of who these musicians are. The band did not have a set list per say they were playing songs they loved and a variety of over the year tunes.
Hatfield on many occasions did some soloing on her guitar as she rocked out swaying back and forth. Most of the time she was at the microphone looking forward as she sang to the crowd showing every emotion of what the song meant through her vocal performance and facial expressions. Hatfield was very engaging to fans as she thanked them, told them about songs and even had some witty jokes. As a performer she looked right at home on stage.
The crowd was very invested in the band’s performance and participated with singing back certain parts of songs, clapping and even dancing. Most fans were excited to witness Hatfield grace the stage again after so many years.
Some other songs that were played that night were fan favorites like “Vagabond”, “Push Pin” and “My Sister”, which got the most cheers and crowd response when sung. Hatfield played a couple songs like “Short-Fingered Man” and “Rhinoceros” off her new album which was released April 28, 2017 ,called Pussycat. The fans seemed to really enjoy the newer songs by showing Hatfield, Fisher and Philips claps and screams after the songs.
A fun cover song of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s, “Bad Moon Rising” was played in only the way that Hatfield and Co could do. There was a punk rock edge to the song with a guitar solo by Hatfield and grunge type vocals. This song was a popular sing along with the fans.
As the last song of the set was played Hatfield, Fisher and Philips walked off the stage. They came back to put away their instruments, but Hatfield had a line of fans come over to meet her and she sat on the stage and talked to everyone. Not to mention signed and took photos. Proving after 25 years stardom has not caught up to her ego. She was humble and thankful to all her fans.
Overall, Juliana Hatfield has staying power in an industry that chews many up and spits them out. She keeps on creating new music and her live show at Café 9 in New Haven, CT proved she and her band can still play to a crowded house and have the whole room cheering and clapping proving they are the real deal.