Yowler, Gabby’s World at Babeville 9th Ward, Buffalo — Thursday 1/10/2019
Review by: Amy C.
Rating: 5/5 Hands
An old church basement may not be the first place you think of to go see an indie rock show but that’s exactly where you will find yourself at Babeville’s 9th Ward second stage venue, nestled in the foundation under Asbury Hall, formerly the Delaware Avenue Methodist Church, in downtown Buffalo. The acoustics in the Hall upstairs, having been built for the voice of god, as it were, are exactly as perfect as you might imagine – and then some. Having seen Guided By Voices play upstairs previously and heard their fast-paced post-punk driving force tracks with more detail and clarity than in any of the nearly half a dozen venues I have previously seen them play, the announcement of the harmony rich vocal stylings of Gabby’s World coming to play there was one that elicited much anticipation to be able to hear how a softer sound would fill that hall and to be able to see a band for the first time in a venue already proven itself so incredible to me.
Arriving to the show and being redirected to the side door into the 9th Ward, Babeville’s basement second stage, was admittedly an initial disappointment – but Babeville did not fail to deliver downstairs and despite not being set up for success with awesome acoustic architecture like, you know, the congregation hall upstairs was, the sound was almost as perfect as I remembered it being upstairs – and far far better than it should have been for an open-face brick basement with a cramped layout and low ceiling. Performance-wise, Gabby’s World live was exhilarating and exceeded all expectations of a low-key set of sweet songs. The rich harmonies were there and pitch perfect, but so too was some of the most adorable and coordinated stage presence and dance-like physical interactions I have ever seen (and I once saw Beyonce’s Formation tour as a point of comparison – and flexing). And the band wore matching Yowler shirts to help pitch their touring partners’ fresh merch, a refreshing nod to the simple shows of support we seem to see so rarely in so many music communities. Their set was fairly evenly split between songs from their latest album (‘Beast on Beast,’ released last year) and their debut album (‘O.K.,’ released under former band-name Eskimeaux in 2015). Although you could see the joy on nearly everyone’s face in the crowd hearing those fan favorites off that debut, not a lyric was uttered along nor was barely a beer ordered while they played, that’s how rapt and respectful this intimate basement of die-hards was. It is not often you are clearly in a room where every single person there with you is there for the same reason. And at the 9th Ward on 1/10/2019, I found myself in such a room: and we were all there for the music. Not the scene. Not to be seen. Just to be sung to. And Babeville provided a surprisingly perfect environment for it in that basement where bricks that should have felt dank were actually ultimately a warm and comforting backdrop and columns that should have felt obstructive proved themselves to be a glorious frame to that tiny stage as it came alive with Gabby’s angelic voice and her World’s exhilarating music.
It is also worth mentioning that this show not only introduced me to the nicest and most personable bartender I have yet to come across in the Queen City but also introduced me to Yowler, which can be very hit or miss for me personally – to see a band play live being unfamiliar with their music; but with Yowler it was a hit and I started following them immediately on my return home.
Thank you, Babeville, for another near perfect night of music.
I will be back soon. Hope to see you there!
About Amy C:
Amy C. is the 5 Wits Buffalo Operations Manager by day, a comedian, writer & performance artist by night, trained as a classical actor before she saw the butt of that joke. She is an avid music lover who needs to dance as often as possible and self-identifies as a killjoy feminist. Recently relocated from New England to Buffalo, she grew up in Providence RI, the cuter (and superior) Boston MA.