Better than… a PBR-fueled mosh pit.
Shoegaze is back in a big way. 2:54, the dreamy UK act founded by sisters Hannah and Colette Thurlow, is at the forefront of the genre's overseas revitalization. They offer a lush, saturated sound, but their live act presents a physicality that almost drives the listener to the breaking point. Whereas most modern shoegaze acts blend instruments into a muddled concoction, 2:54 retains an ability to still allow each band member their space.
Thurlow slung herself to and fro across the Troubadour's small stage, looking like a pacing zoo animal at times. Combined with the otherworldly element of songs like “Sugar” and “Easy Undercover,” it seemed that the frontwoman was ready to jump out of her skin at her band's next crescendo. When she asked the crowd “Who wants to mosh? You feel like dancing?” 2:54's unnerving approach started to click — their brand of shoegaze is something you could almost mosh to. Unfortunately, most everyone simply stood still and continued nodding along.
While Thurlow is antsy, there's something tonally dark about 2:54 that comes across in a live setting. Structurally, they're quite tight, which is nice considering most shoegaze acts are more into the “jam.”
2:54 uses heaping doses of angularity and dissonance in their writing, with guitarist Colette sprinkling in lead work that almost demands a second listen. But the lyrical themes didn't really come across. At a venue whose acoustics are usually on-point, The Troubadour's sound technicians seemed to mix Hannah's vocals a bit too far down.
Sonic quibbling aside, however it seems that the British sister act is gaining cult status in the States. Songs like “You're Early” and “Got a Hold” were welcomed with hoots and hollers from the crowd, the former tune being an older cut from 2:54's Scarlet EP.
Even though 2:54 may seem like dream pop at first listen, the “dream” may be actually more akin to a nightmare.
In any case, it's refreshing to see a shoegaze performer put a spin on the genre.
Personal bias: Girls who can play guitar are sexy — it's the damn truth.
Overheard in the crowd: Middle-aged dude consistently catcalling the incredibly attractive Hannah Thurlow.
Random notebook dump: Why are there 14-year-olds at a 2:54 show? Kids are way cooler now than when I was 14.
Set list below
On A Wire
Got A Hold