By Sara Nuta, Contributing Writer
For a Tuesday night, Baby’s All Right was packed on Nov. 14 in anticipation of New York-based artists, Soccer Mommy, Emily Yacina, and Yohuna. The stage, which is so often claimed by indie rock outfits (read: mediocre dude-bands) was to be taken by a refreshingly all-female bill, and the atmosphere of the room felt decisively warmer than usual.
The crowd was younger, filled with Brooklyn staples—baby bangs, beanies, and bomber jackets. Rather than adopting the too-cool-for-dancing-arms-crossed position, most people in the audience swayed, danced, and sang along all night.
Yohuna, the namesake of Johanne Swanson, kicked off the show mostly playing tracks off of her ethereal, debut full-length album, Patientness, which was released last September. Much like the album cover for her most recent record, Yohuna’s songs are hazy, fragmented, and multi-layered soundscapes. As she performed, her delicate synth-pop sound was reminiscent of the Twin Peaks theme—dreamy but haunting. Alongside a guitarist, Yohuna played her single, “The Moons Hangs in the Sky Like Nothing Hangs in the Sky” and as she sang, her voice hung in the air, too.
Between songs, Yohuna thanked the crowd and explained that one of the hardest parts of being a female musician is feeling undeserving of being on stage, and how this particular show is so nice because it creates a space for women. This sentiment seemed to echo throughout the night.
NYC college student and Philly-native, Emily Yacina, followed up playing songs off of her latest record about heartbreak, Heart Sky. Backed by a full band, Yacina’s slow-burning sound was rounded out by drums, bass, and guitar. On the record, her vocals have a stylized listlessness, but on stage her delivery is emotive and filled with conviction. Yacina breaks into an infectious smile between songs and asks the crowd, “It’s a Tuesday night, don’t you have school?” before launching into more songs. She plays tracks like, “Clue,” which retain Yacina’s soft sound but as the instrumentation swelled, the song blossomed on stage.
Sophie Allison, NYU’s bedroom-rock darling, headlined the show. She opened with “Try” and then quickly segued into “Henry”, both tracks off of her latest album, Collections. Although Soccer Mommy has been pinned as sad-girl-bedroom-pop, her latest record proves she has the capacity for a brighter and more dynamic rock sound. On Collections, Allison does what she does best lyrically––creating small universes out of the triumphs and pitfalls of everyday moments. But on stage with a full band, Soccer Mommy mixes the jangly sound of ‘80s college rock with the lyrical earnestness of Shania Twain pop.
Soccer Mommy played other favorites like “Last Girl” and “Inside Out”, before the band left the stage for Allison to play a few solo songs. With just her guitar and heavenly vocal delivery, the sheer force of Allison’s talent is palpable in the room. The packed venue is completely silent and attentive as she plays the spider-webby “Allison” and an unreleased song called “Wildflowers” which explores the depressing lack of nature in New York City. She invites the rest of the band back on stage and they finish by playing a new song.
The night’s lineup demonstrated the depth and capacity of lo-fi artists, and their ability to expand their intimate sound on stage, making everyone in the crowd feel a little more familiar. To record one’s deepest thoughts, loneliest memories, and most personal stories in your room takes strength, but to perform them live for an audience takes a different kind of courage. The show was also a success for female artists, and demonstrated to young women that their feelings are valid and that their art is worth sharing. The audience’s reception and respect for each artist restored faith in the state of DIY music.