In March, Spanish Love Songs put out my favorite album of 2018 so far, Schmaltz. While they’ve spent the entirety of the year since touring in support of the album, I didn’t get the chance to catch a show until Wednesday, October 3rd, 2018, but it was well worth the wait.
The venue was pretty small, but it was packed by the time the band took the stage – which is to say, set up in the front of the room, a couple of feet in front of us. They played almost all of Schmaltz, save its phenomenal acoustic closer “Aloha to No One,” unfortunately, beginning with “Nuevo.” Sadly, the band’s keyboard player Meredith Van Woert wasn’t at the show, so “Nuevo” became a different, more guitar-driven song live. It set the tone for the entire show, as every song felt even bigger live than on the album. The exception to this was “Joanna, in Five Acts,” the climactic guitar solo of which was cut short when vocalist/guitarist Dylan Slocum accidentally hit his mute switch. They all took it in stride though and pinked the energy back up in time for the song’s finale. Even though it was well past 10:00 pm by the time the band took the stage, the crowd couldn’t have been more energetic; perhaps the best moment of the night came during the bridge of “The Boy Considers His Haircut,” during which the band stopped, and the audience took over. It was powerful to hear everyone together singing, “I don’t wanna be depressed.” For a moment there, everything seemed alright, if only in that room.
Things wound down when the band played their single “Buffalo Buffalo,” which got an expectedly huge reaction from the crowd. After a short intermission, they encored with “Beer & NyQuil (Hold It Together),” my favorite song off Schmaltz, and the show ended on a high note. I have to imagine this is how Spanish Love Songs is meant to be seen – sweating in a small room, only feet away from the audience. It felt like how I imagine Fugazi shows must’ve felt when that band was just getting started. It felt like, to quote Slocum himself, the beginning of “something great.”