Blonde Redhead played Crystal Ballroom – 11/4

Long-running dream pop/shoegaze/noise rock trio Blonde Redhead returned to Greater Boston with support from singer/songwriter Lutalo.


Blonde Redhead are celebrating a 30th anniversary this year, but the band aren’t making any fanfare of it. Unassuming as ever, the trio of singer/guitarist/keyboardist Kazu Makino and twin brothers Amedeo and Simone Pace (on guitars and drums, respectively) are simply on the road in support of new record Sit Down for Dinner. Arriving nearly a decade after the band’s last proper full-length Barragán, the LP proves they’ve still got that enigmatic spark that’s captivated from their noisy early days through their dreamy ’00s peaks.

Prior to Saturday night, it’d been more than 8 years since the trio graced a stage in Boston (or thereabouts), which made their Crystal Ballroom date a hot ticket even on a night when live music options in the city were plentiful (Amyl and the Sniffers, Quicksand, Angel Du$t and local heroes Beeef were all playing concurrently). The sold-out room was packed to the gills to catch a glimpse of the band’s shimmery stage setup, which brought a sort of prom-under-the-sea aesthetic that felt fitting for a literal ballroom.

Blonde Redhead’s 90-ish-minute set covered a solid chunk of the new record and pulled heavily from favorites Misery is a Butterfly and 23, sounding spellbinding in the process. Capable of riding out propulsive jams and shimmering ambiance in equal measure, the dense sonics conjured by Makino and the Pace brothers belied that there were but three people up on stage. The trio maintain a somewhat mysterious air about them in performance and had little to say beyond the songs themselves, but embellishment felt unnecessary.

By contrast, opener Lutalo (who I also caught at a Waking Windows iteration a few years back) took a more conversational approach to his solo opening set, which was a good deal sparser than what was to come but received warmly by the early-arrivers. Check out a gallery from both sets below.