Jessica Louise Dye sings at the Dead Kennedy Center on Feb. 2, 2016. (Photo by Ben Eisendrath/Instagram+Twitter: GrillworksBen)
Jessica Louise Dye has a sultry voice well suited to the ’60s vibe radiated by the band High Waisted. She sounds fresh yet acclimated to her surroundings — which makes her ideally suited for surf rock, and the band’s loose, smart sound.
Playing guitar while she sings, Jess brings a lot of energy to the stage but at the same time she fits like an interlocking block with her bandmates — drummer Jono Bernstein, guitarist Steven Nielsen and bassist Jeremy Hansen. Together, the men are also a bit of a contradiction, much like their lead singer. They play wonderfully loose, shimmery beats — but at the same time, they are amazingly sharp.
High Waisted brought their infectious energy to the Dead Kennedy Center, a DIY basement space near the Atlas District in DC on Tuesday night, and the quartet completely charmed a very crowded house with a batch of songs from their upcoming debut full-length, On Ludlow, set for release on March 4.
Jess’s chirpy coo and the entire band’s thumping instruments come together in a satisfying cascade of rock and roll, as evidenced by their album’s lead single “Party in the Back.” The band is deservedly proud of the effort, so we’ll show you the video below although we shared it previously!
Watch the official music video for “Party in the Back” on YouTube, and rock out with High Waisted:
High Waisted’s 12-track debut album has some very sophisticated instrumentals on it, which you would expect for a true surf band. And these guys definitely steeped themselves in their love of the genre. They closed their show Tuesday with a rollickin’ cover of “Misirlou” by Dick Dale, after all.
Their own instrumental numbers stand tall as some of the band’s best numbers. Their clever “Shanghai Spy” first debuted on their Acid Tape Vol. 1 EP release, and it has carried over into a fully realized version on the new album. It’s also a concert high point. (You might think of it as the band’s answer to the Hawaii Five-O theme, but the album also has at least one other snappy instrumental track with the song “Kitchen Safari.”) From the opening notes, guitarist Steven pours sonic gold into your ears as he sways forward. After the show Tuesday, Jono spoke highly of his bandmate, telling me that the very solid rhythm section provide a terrific foundation for Steven to slide wherever he needs to go.
The results are fantastic. Don’t simply take my word for it! Watch High Waisted perform “Shanghai Spy” live on a roof in Bedford–Stuyvesant in Brooklyn on Oct. 23, 2015:
High Waisted are clearly on a tear, and they perform tonight in New York City at Brooklyn concert hall Baby’s All Right to close out their month-long tour. They are scheduled to perform next on Thursday, March 3, at Manhattan’s Mercury Lounge in a record release party.
Once that record is out, I bet we’re going to be hearing a lot more from High Waisted, and we’ll undoubtedly see them at a headlining show at an appropriate space like the Black Cat very soon.
Jessica and Steven bring sunny but muscular guitar to bear. (Photo by Ben Eisendrath/Instagram+Twitter: GrillworksBen)
Jessica with bandmates drummer Jono and guitarist Steven at the Dead Kennedy Center. (Photo by Ben Eisendrath/Instagram+Twitter: GrillworksBen)
Jess Dye takes care to wear footwear worthy of her pedals. (Photo by Ben Eisendrath/Instagram+Twitter: GrillworksBen)