Live Concert Photography: Big Bliss and Sunny Slopes at Union Hall 11/3/18
Comprised of brothers Tim (guitar, vocals) and Cory Race (drums) with Wallace May (bass, vocals), the Brooklyn-based post-punk trio Big Bliss formed back in 2015 when the Race Brothers began collaborating together on a project with the aim of drawing from shared influences between the two — namely 70s punk and 80s post-punk. The Race Brothers recruited Brooklyn-based songwriter Wallace May to flesh out the band’s sound, and since their formation they’ve developed a reputation for crafting shimmering, jangling and energetic post-punk.
The band’s recently released album At Middle Distance was recorded and mixed at Studio G and Thump Recordings in Brooklyn, and the album is a major step forward for the band, as the material finds the band refining and perfecting their sound while imbuing it with a deeper emotive quality. Now, as you may recall, I wrote about The Alarm and Starfish-era The Church-like album single, “Duplicate,” which was centered around thumping and propulsive drumming, shimmering and jangling guitar lines, an angular bass line, a shout along worthy hook and Tim Race’s earnest vocals and while anthemic, the song manages to evoke the sensation of being hemmed in, of its narrator being deeply frustrated and uncertain over the things they can’t have/aren’t allowed to have and can never really be — and as a result, the song has an emotional heft that’s palpable and very real. As the band’s Tim Race explained in press notes, “‘Duplicate’ is the record’s thesis. It informed many of the other songs’ thematic content, as well as Ana Becker’s album art (reflection, duality.) The song centers on conflicting and frustrated identities. It’s so easy to value yourself based on self identity, like social constructs and occupation, but that’s a slippery slope. That will inevitably lead to comparing yourself to your peers to measure self-worth, that can be a painful, distorted way of dealing with life. One will only see what they can’t control or don’t have, leaving little space for basic gratitude and contentment.”
The band has been touring to support the album and it included a stop at Union Hall with Chapel Hill, NC-based indie rockers Sunny Slope and NYC-all star indie act SAVAK, who unfortunately I didn’t catch — and hope to catch soon. Check out the remaining tour dates, and the photos below the proverbial jump.
11/27 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Rock Room
11/28 – Detroit, MI @ Kelly’s Bar
11/29 Grand – Rapids, MI @ Pyramid Scheme
11/30 – Chicago, IL @ Burlington Bar
12/01 – Bloomington, IN @ Blockhouse Bar
12/02 – Cincinnati, OH @ MOTR
12/03 – Muncie, IN @ BHN
12/04 – Columbus, OH @ Ace of Cups
12/05 – Cleveland, OH @ Mahall’s
12/06 – Boston, MA @ O’Brien’s
Fronted by artist and vocalist Casey Cook and featuring John Jaquiss, Kent Howard, Bill Tarman and Josh Bratch, Sunny Slopes are comprised of former and current members of a number of North Carolina’s Research Triangle-based bands. Their full-length debut Last Exit for Human Kindness was recorded and produced by Missy Thangs at the renowned Fidelitorium and interestingly enough from their live sound, their material seemed indebted to Echo and the Bunnymen and Siouxsie and the Banshees among others.