A collection of impassioned voices filled the bill during a show at Yacht Club in New Paltz on Oct. 6.
The show—billed as an indie alternative rock performance—consisted of sets from Chubby Bunny, Power Funeral, Fear Not Ourselves Alone, Guilt Mountain and Hot Temper. For all but Guilt Mountain and Hot Temper, the New Paltz house show scene was uncharted territory.
“The scene in New Paltz is very similar to Brooklyn’s,” said Abby Kats, who performed as her solo project Chubby Bunny. “It feels a lot safer than Potsdam.”
This sentiment was echoed by Kats’s friend and bandmate Lauren McAvoy, who was touring with Kats for their band Space Cadet, and was even further bolstered by the intimate, warm setting of the Yacht Club.
Chubby Bunny’s lo-fi set was played through a guitar and portable amp attached to Kats’s hip, drawing the audience in close. Her soft, floaty vocals carried the set, even serving to improve a cover of “Dog Whistle” by the Front Bottoms and providing more raw emotion than the original. A theme seen throughout the night, Kats interacted heavily with the crowd between songs, making the performance feel more personal than the average show. For her final song, Kats played a solo rendition of a Space Cadet original, moving the audience fluidly through the song with fast, well-timed pacing and varied instrumental breakdowns.
Following Chubby Bunny was Power Funeral, the project of 21-year-old Queens native Adam Parker. Parker’s acoustic set was accompanied by Ivy Velez, a fellow resident of Queens and vocalist for Fear Not Ourselves Alone. The show was a stop on Parker’s first tour, a weekender which ran from Queens to Boston to Connecticut. Parker’s wispy vocals and soft acoustic strings were supported by Velez’s ambient stylings, coming from dials and buttons in a nest of snakes as wires crossed over the soundboard. Though Parker seemed fragile and physically withdrawn, his voice enraptured the crowd, giving him a large presence in the small, dusty space.
Velez took the stage, front and center, with Fear Not Ourselves alone for the next set. The Queens band, comprised of four 20-somethings, was touring along with Power Funeral for the weekend. String lights lit the stage for the band, creating a dimmer, more theatrical performance for the emotionally charged set. Velez appeared this time with “ugly” scrawled across their forehead in makeup. These theatrics complimented charged lyrics as Velez whimpered, “Did my mother hate her body? I am trying not to hate my body,” into a mic on the side of the stage. Though some songs felt like a fever dream—with choppy guitar riffs, screaming vocals and an energetic sense of urgency—the band was able to showcase their dynamic stylings with other songs that were slower, more subtle and creepy than fast and loud. At points the band would cut the instrumental performance in favor of vocal delivery in unison, creating a deeply powerful sense of shared struggles.
Guilt Mountain, comprised of Kingston and Tillson natives Kate Larson and Matt Ross, respectively, followed up after Fear Not Ourselves Alone. Choppy, full bodied riffs from Larson’s guitar were backed by punchy drum beats, feeling almost like a jab to the gut in the best way possible. Larson showed a diverse skill set, quickly transitioning to slicker riffs that felt like riding a slide. Guilt Mountain’s performance sounded traditionally alternative through these transitions.
Rounding out the night was Hot Temper, fronted by Tara Pelletier with Jeff Kurosaki on drums. The Rifton-based band was started as a reaction to the results of the 2016 elections. Pelletier took time between her songs to highlight the bands existence as a platform for unheard voices. “Some of us don’t get to choose when we’re affected by social issues like racism and sexism,” she said.
The messages delivered by Hot Temper were in the form of high energy, thrash instrumentals and rolling drum beats reminiscent of early skate edits. The band ended their set with a cover of “Whats Up?” by 4 Non Blondes in a femme-punk style with raw, forceful vocals.
The night was highlighted by the emotionally heavy and pent up performances of each artist and group, creating a strong link between the audience and the performers. The Yacht Club is booked for shows through December with a variety of genres from alt-punk to folk.