The Babies at 7th Street Entry, 11/20/12
By Kati Heng
With Nice Purse and Crimes
7th Street Entry, Minneapolis
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
The Babies (read with a tiny heart over the "i" for full effect) are not new to the stage. Since it's a collaboration between Vivian Girls lead singer Cassie Ramone and Woods bassist Kevin Morby, these two have been playing, albeit separately, across the country for years.
It's amazing how far this band has come since their start. Originally, the Babies was supposed to be a way for Ramone and Morby to play for fun, get ideas out and do some gigs without the pressures associated with their main groups. But, the very fact they came to Minneapolis probably shows just how long that idea lasted.
At this point in their lives and how good they've become musically, it's gotta be hard to do things just for fun. Not just Ramone and Morby, but their bassist and drummer (Justin Sullivan, from Ramone's past band, Bossy) as well, are so solid on their instruments at this point it's not even fair. Seeing them live will only make you appreciate just how strong Morby's voice is and just how well Ramone shreds that guitar.
And while we're talking about Ramone, let's mention that she stole the show. With her blonde locks, she looks just about as sweet as T-Swift, but onstage she's a total rocker. Whenever Morby led songs, she'd be slumped over her guitar, hair thrown over her face, in a pose usually reserved for grunge-y male guitarist. But whenever she'd sing that sweet, Shangri-La's-esque voice would come out.
This group really likes the '60s -- or at least that easy-going, rhythmic drive that the Velvet Underground & Nico had in that era. The Babies have learned the ropes of guy/girl singing so well. Ramone and Morby are strong vocalists on their own, but the beauty lies when they sing together and take turns backing each other up. Ramone's mic had some sort of echo going on and it kinda sounded awesome. It amplified her "ohs" to an almost dizzying quality. When she sang lead, the mic forced her to almost shout to get heard right. The only time their interplay strayed even a bit was on "Moonlight Mile," in which Morby basically shouted the lyrics up until the first refrain.
With two opening acts before them, The Babies didn't get to take the stage until around 10:30, and they flew through their set. They weren't one of those bands super concerned with whether or not the audience was having a good time. They weren't into telling the stories behind songs or what mood they were in when they wrote hits like "Get Lost." Instead, they moved quickly from one song to the next, maybe taking some time to let the crowd clap, maybe not, depending on the song.
It seemed a little like they could have been playing at a party, acting the part of a background group rather than the band on center stage. They were so focused they probably just didn't have time to glance around the crowd. The most they said at one time was when they dedicated the song "Meet Me in the City" to a friend whose family lived in the TC area. All in all, the Babies played a fantastic show, as they probably do in every town. It's like watching the NFL versus high-school football -- at this point, the Babies are such pros, there's not too much that can throw their game.
Critic's Bias: I may be developing a slight obsession with Cassie Ramones/Vivian Girls/whatever else she gets her hands on after this show. Seriously, she's great.
The Crowd: Leftovers. Most of the college crowd already went home for Thanksgiving. And a lot of the crowd seemed like they were there for the openers rather than The Babies. The room was only about half-full (or half-empty, if you're a pessimist). Except for a couple girls dancing around up front, the crowd seemed as if they could care less. For example, as they came onstage for the first time, there were maybe three people who clapped.
Overheard in the Crowd: "You gotta get the perfect moisture, that's right, moisture, for the turkey to smoke just right."
Random Notebook Dump: It was the Night of the Tambourine-Wielding Opening Acts. Nice Purse had one going the entire time (no exaggeration), and by the time Crimes took one out, it wasn't so cute.
Breakin' the Law
Run Me Over
See the Country
Meet Me in the City
All Things Come to Pass