Chastity Belt - live in Allston (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Chastity Belt

live in Allston (2019)

live show

It couldn’t be a much more alluring pair worth leaving the house on a Tuesday night for, as two bands I’d never actually seen before, Chastity Belt and Strange Ranger are out traversing the U.S. for a few more days on tour.

Portland, Oregon’s Strange Ranger opened things up. The five-piece sounded straight-up great, really, with two guitarists and a keyboardist filling out the sound. They were crisp, looked like they were having a great time and didn’t really miss a beat. The band play modern indie rock that’s kinda in the company of acts like Alex G, but at times I hear anything from Red House Painters to R.E.M. or the Cure (the “Friday I’m in Love”-esque “Sunday”) in their sound as well. Their main singer has a tone that’s impossibly apathetic and expressive at the same time, but it works. They played a bunch off their recent full-length, Remember the Rockets, including the aforementioned “Sunday”, “Leona”, “Ranch Style Home”, and the slow, spacey “Message to You” (sung by their abovementioned keyboardist). A little bit into their set, I noticed the venue was pretty packed out and everyone more or less seemed pretty into it, getting warmed up for the main act.

Chastity Belt came out on stage to some sort of funny Calypso song or something while warm applause greeted them. They kicked it off with a pair of songs from their new self-titled album, which is not only very good but is a bit of a watershed moment for them, going a surprisingly languid and dreary route that’s much more slowcore than their prior material. The singing and playing was mostly a quiet murmur at first, and I worried for a couple songs that Chastity Belt might actually get upstaged by their touring partner.

But after a couple more songs, the band seemed to find their confidence a bit, and while the majority of the set focused on that aforementioned new album, there was enough energy in the performance and plenty of charming banter that things felt livened up. After “Rav-4”, the band talked about scheming a fitness center trial to get a free shower and workout on tour, hitting the “Y”(MCA) in Burlington, Massachusetts, and their singer/guitarist and drummer switched spots (as well as a silly Kermit the Frog hat) for “Effort” and “Apart”.

The venue was packed and the audience was rather transfixed, and while the latter seemed appreciative enough of the new material, they definitely got louder when the band threw in a couple older ones. The highlight of those was most certainly “Different Now”, changing up the vibe. But even better than that was “Ann’s Jam”, the mournful yet hopeful and nostalgic opener to the new album, and which closed the band’s set -- until they acknowledged the cheers and played the throwback “Seattle Party”.

Set list (9:02-9:57):

1. It Takes Time

2. Elena


3. This Time of Night


4. Rav-4


5. Effort


6. Apart


7. Half-Hearted

8. Different Now

9. Drown

10. Split

11. Used to Spend


12. Ann’s Jam

Encore (9:59-10:04):

13. Seattle Party