Ought / Priests - live in Cambridge (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Ought / Priests

live in Cambridge (2016)

live show

Ought keep movin’ on up: They were upgraded to the 525-capacity Sinclair venue in Cambridge over their last spot in the Boston area, the 240-cap Great Scott in Allston (itself a slight upgrade over their spot before that, the 225 Church of Boston). It’s certainly deservedly so, as the venue looked to be at least more than halfway full, and they brought along a great opener to boot.

Local two-piece noise-punk act Ursula played first. I caught their last song and change, which featured lots of militant drum work and stunted, talk-shouted vocals. It musically wasn’t entirely my thing, but they seemed to do it well, and the singer amused the crowd by hopping down onto the floor for the last song (with a third member handling her guitar playing for her) and interacting/falling into people.

Priests were a pleasant surprise, playing super catchy and very tightly performed post-punk/no wave. They all had great energy and just sounded generally bigger live than on record, providing a very compelling 40 minutes or so (rough estimate from memory). Their singer was an expressive frontperson, adding character to her inflection and displaying some theatrical personalities with every line. They made a fantastic complement to Ought, and really had even more of a lively vibe than them (not that it’s a competition). I’m not sure how many fans they had in the crowd, but they probably had some converts as they were warmly received, with a few bouncing and dancing right along with them.

Ought came on next to the delight of many, kicking it off with four songs of their passionately antsy and observant art-punk. Hell, maybe they wouldn’t have paused for a longer time, but singer/guitarist Tim Darcy broke a string during “Men for Miles”; he seemed all good with it, though, and played through without reservation, even adding a new ending to the song.

They played a solid mix of songs from their two full-lengths, including most of their more recent one, Sun’s Coming Down, and the more accessible More Than Any Other Day, which Darcy again referred to as their “Greatest Hits.” They also closed with the Once More with Feeling opener, “Pill”. They seemed more relaxed and restrained than the last two times I’ve seen them live, but no less entertaining. It was another great set with subtle changes and some slightly more jammed-out parts that brought their jaunty style to life and thrilled the crowd, who reacted as politely as possible with similar energy and enthusiasm.

Set list (10:46-11:41):

  1. Sun’s Coming Down

  2. The Combo

  3. Passionate Turn

  4. Men for Miles


  5. Beautiful Blue Sky

  6. Around Again

  7. The Weather Song


  8. Habit

  9. Never Better

    Encore (11:43-11:55):

  10. Today More Than Any Other Day


  11. Pill