American Football / Land of Talk - live in Boston (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

American Football / Land of Talk

live in Boston (2017)

live show

Thanksgiving Week presented this great gig before the nice four-day vacation set in. American Football brought this little regional tour to Boston, the last of a four-day shindig.

Pure Bathing Culture opened things up. They do a quasi-dream pop thing, with more melodic and energetic inclinations than the genre usually has. There was a little Beach House, to be sure, but also some serious blues guitar and jam moments -- like Eric Clapton via Real Estate meets ‘80s movie soundtrack vibes. It was a weird mish-mash of styles that were mostly pretty interesting, if not kinda unintentionally funny at certain moments -- the John Mayer licks can get a bit jarring within it all.

I was already planning on hitting this show up before Land of Talk was added, but this made it all the more delightful. Their somewhat recent reunion album, Life After Youth is a top-20-of-the-year lock. There were some minor technical difficulties, as singer/guitarist Elizabeth Powell had to quickly switch guitars and tune the new one during an extended bridge while playing “Yuppy Flu”, but she and the rest of her band managed it well. The set as a whole was very enjoyable and seemed to go by way too fast. They were a great fit for the lineup with their emotive indie rock style, which gels well with American Football; and yet, both bands don’t really sound anything alike, providing nice diversity to the night regardless.

Set list (8:55-9:31):

  1. Yes You Were


  2. Some Are Lakes


  3. Yuppy Flu


  4. Loving

  5. Inner Lover


  6. This Time


  7. The Hate I Won’t Commit

American Football’s members have all stayed very busy in music since their breakup in 2000, and they’ve now been reunited for three solid years. Add it all up, and you get a very, very good live act who sounded fantastic, on point, and as crisp as a fall apple. The visuals were all enticing as well, with laser tag smoke, and cool album art (from their 2016 album) backdrop emphasizing their “quiet strife in one’s domicile” subject matter. The strobe could be a bit much at times, granted.

Drummer Steve Lamos’s trumpet was spot on for “The Summer Ends” and a little solo intro bonus for “For Sure”. After “Desire Gets in the Way”, guitarist Steve Holmes started riffing something that is still killing me because it’s totally familiar, yet I can’t place what song or band it is. I think it might be something by one of their peers, like the Promise Ring, but I’ve yet to identify what song exactly. It might haunt me until the day I die.

They played close to their entire catalog, with a fantastic encore including a beautiful standout from the 2016 album and two beloved classics shortly thereafter. They were pretty quick but friendly with the banter, asking if anyone had anything they wanted to talk about (I don’t remember anything terribly noteworthy being contributed).

It was a pretty great set, and not just in a purely nostalgic way. After all, the band says there’s another LP on the way, which is awesome to hear. The band is probably better than they’ve ever been, so keeping it going is thrilling news.

Set list (10:03-11:06):

  1. Where Are We Now?

  2. You Know I Should Be Leaving Soon


  3. My Instincts Are the Enemy

  4. The Summer Ends

  5. Give Me the Gun


  6. Born to Lose


  7. Home Is Where the Haunt Is

  8. For Sure


  9. I’ll See You Both When We’re Not So Emotional

  10. Desire Gets in the Way


  11. Stay Home

    Encore (11:09-11:25):

  12. I’ve Been So Lost for So Long


  13. Honestly?


  14. Never Meant