Indie folk-pop is a 180-degree departure from the trap music that is currently trending; nevertheless, an undeniable charm resounds about the soft, gentle acoustics of the genre. The Weepies on Friday night at Campbell Hall demonstrated the full force of the appeal.
Husband-wife folk-pop duo The Weepies performed at the University of California, Santa Barbara as part of their Hideaway 10 Year Anniversary Tour. The tour is named after the couple’s third studio-length album, yet they never performed the album on tour until now, a decade after its release.
During the 90-minute performance, the band demonstrated what makes folk-pop appealing: a mild, acoustic sound filled with charisma and a touch of quirkiness that can capture the hearts of an audience.
The band opened with their song “Hideaway,” which set an upbeat tone for the rest of the concert. The Weepies, accompanied with live instrumentation, gave an enjoyable, easy-to-listen-to performance of a quintessential indie folk-pop song. It featured a soft acoustic guitar melody, a barely-noticeable bass, an energetic drum beat, and pleasant vocals for cohesion.
Most of the songs the band performed sounded like their opener, albeit with slight variations. Songs such as “Antarctica” featured more upbeat and strong drums, lending themselves to a more energetic sound. Meanwhile, songs like “Old Coyote” were more somber, deviating from the cheerful vibe characteristic of the group.
Despite the similarity in sound of most the songs, the concert had two notable musical highlights.
The first one was wife Deb Talan’s acoustic performance of “Growing Up” from her solo project Lucky Girl, written after Talan’s battle with Stage 3 breast cancer. Because of the scaled-back instrumentation, the guitar-only version carried much more emotional weight.
As she crooned out the lyrics, “You’re growing up, you’re growing up, but don’t grow away from me,” the room brimmed with bittersweet emotion, as people mouthed the words with Talan or leaned into their loved ones.
After the performance, Talan commented on how quiet the audience was; however, it was not a negative silence characterized by boredom — it was a silence in awe of how stunning the performance was.
The second musical highlight was the band’s song “Fancy Things” from its 2015 album Sirens. In contrast to Deb’s quiet, minimal solo performance, “Fancy Things” was loud and fun, comparable to Michael Buble’s “Sway” with its jazzy and Latin influences. The heavy bass and drums during the live performance were invigorating, even invoking the characteristically-quiet audience to clap along.
While the concert was not particularly unique in its structure or musical performances, the show was special as The Weepies engaged in playful banter with each other and the audience, often telling jokes, stories about their family, and the inspiration behind their songs.
The biggest joke of the night was the lethargic, restrained audience. The crowd — generally consisting of middle-aged couples to groups of retirees — was notably reserved, aside from the enthusiastic applause after every song. Despite the low energy from spectators, the band members were good sports, jokingly whispering into the microphone to keep with the theme of quietness or reminding the audience at one point to “keep breathing.”
The duo continued to coax for more participation throughout the night, but always did so in good spirits. Despite being in a slightly unpleasant situation, The Weepies made everyone feel comfortable, making the show at Campbell Hall feel like an intimate house show.
The Weepies have an ability to connect with their audience members on a deep level, which speaks to a profound genuineness not frequently seen in popular genres. They make enjoyable music like others, but it is their kindness towards each other and their listeners in addition to their passion that sets The Weepies apart from the crowd.
While the crowd was quiet, it had undeniable love for the pair. The audience gave a standing ovation for several minutes after the band exited the stage and then promptly swarmed the merchandise table afterwards to buy t-shirts and CDs.
People left the venue excitedly chatting with each other about the show. The concert made for a cheerful evening, much like The Weepies and their music.