The concert featuring Boyish and Claud at the Echoplex was grunge-infused indie melodies with raw lyrics and passion. The venue was intimate and well-lit, decorated with skeletons on either side of the stage.
Boyish set the vibe as the opener with chaotic and youthful energy. Their use of simple chord progressions and heartfelt lyrics could suggest that they are novices on their instruments, but their seamless transitions and buildup indicate their meeting place at the prestigious Berklee College of Music. Singer India Shore and guitarist Claire Altendahl met at a failed audition attempt for a college songwriters showcase. Their chemistry onstage is unmatched as they perform in conversation with each other. Their whole band seemed genderqueer, complementing the audience and Claud’s vibe. My favorite was their performance of “Fuck You, Heather”.
Where Boyish exudes this casual confidence and demanding demeanor, Claud approaches the stage somewhat awkwardly, not demanding anyone’s attention or focus. The initial moments were marked by a technical glitch with Claud’s microphone, introducing an unexpected pause that echoed with a vulnerability that would soon become integral to their performance. They joked sarcastically about being comfortable and planning to talk on stage- the audience understanding the unfortunate circumstance of the microphone and that Claud obviously does not enjoy having to speak on stage. It was earnest and endearing.
Once the mike starts working, they slowly regain their composure and comfortability on stage. They mostly played their newest “Supermodels” album, opening with “A Good Thing”. “Supermodels” is a narrative-focused indie bedroom pop sound.
Their lyrics and vibe as an artist matched the audience perfectly, and it’s always nice to see that an artist has found their fitting fan base (no confused faces). Claud is 24 years old, but the audience is a bit older and more millennial than I expected. They use a pedal to adjust the pitch of their voice, transitioning from sounding conventionally feminine to masculine. I think it’s a really creative add-on as a genderqueer musician because it works alongside the changing gendered content of the lyrics themselves in the experience of love and relationships beyond the binary.
Their songs speak to the angst and emotional whiplash of beginning to navigate queerness. As the lyrics of “That’s Mr. Bitch to You”, “I turned my back, I’m stronger than you thought/Bet you didn’t know/I won’t let a straight man throw me off”. And “Wish You Were Gay” : “I wish you were gay/so you could just hold me/Call me your babe/instead of your homie”. So real. The straight forward vulnerability of Claud’s lyrics misalign with how shy they seem, as a person and performer.
Both Boyish and Claud show the queer shift in white indie music and how the power of transcending binaries as people translates into musical expression.