The last time Ex Hex played San Francisco, opening for Speedy Ortiz, they blew out the power onstage at Rickshaw Stop. After that powerhouse performance, they certainly deserved the headlining spot their next time through town, and the sold-out crowd agreed.
Ex Hex may or may not be the best band of Mary Timony’s long career (it probably is), but it’s definitely the most fun. With bassist Betsy Wright and drummer Laura Harris, she’s assembled a rock and roll party band who sound and look the part. Wright looks like she just stepped out of production of Grease, and one assumes that, if she’s not necessarily carrying a switchblade, one is never far from her reach.
Portland’s The Shivas opened the show with a fun, rousing set of radiant, manic rock that at times veered into what one imagines “Northwestern surf” would sound like. It won’t be surprising if they’re playing bigger rooms (or at least opening for bigger bands) soon. Like The Shivas, San Francisco’s Cold Beat could and should be headlining Rickshaw Stop-size rooms. We last saw them opening for Mikal Cronin at the Independent, and described them as sort of aggro-shoegaze, and that description holds up. It’s a spacey yet powerful sound.
Ex Hex then tore through all of their debut Merge record, Rips, and threw in a terrific cover of Sweet’s “Fox on the Run.” The 70s glam rock sound is right Ex Hex’s wheel house, and they, plainly, played the shit out of it. Timony’s ace guitar chops continue to be among the best in rock and roll, and Ex Hex has really brought out the joy in her playing. They didn’t blow out any speakers this time, but some socks were probably knocked off.
Ex Hex @ The Rickshaw Stop, San Francisco, CA. May 19th, 2015:
Don’t Wanna Lose
Waste Your Time
How You Got That Girl
Hot and Cold
You Fell Apart
“Fox on the Run” (Sweet cover)
All Kindsa Girls