The four Findlay sisters from Australia are four albums deep into their band Stonefield’s oeuvre, and they are good enough to be performing at bigger venues for even larger crowds.
But seeing them live at the Pie Shop on November 12th is one of those times where, as a concertgoer, one ‘sort of’ selfishly appreciates the intimate space and close quarters to fully experience the overwhelming force of their epic rock anthems.
This is the first time I’ve seen a show at the Pie Shop Bar, and it’s a nice space, although the bar itself seems to take up more room than necessary. The space around the stage is smaller than other venues like DC9 or Songbyrd, and the venue is small enough that the entire band waited patiently by the sound booth for their cue to weave up through the packed crowd. Standing together and on stage, there is no question they are sisters.
Stonefield is Amy Findlay (vocals and drums), Hannah (guitar), Holly (bass), and Sarah (keyboards). Amy belted lyrics (as if it was her last time ever performing) from her backstage perch at the drum kit. Maybe it was the close proximity to the drums, or just that her sisters were also playing loudly, but the rather spare lyrics weren’t always easy to decipher. There were so many elements to process, like lengthy instrumental segments and killer hooks to nod your head to, it hardly mattered in many of the songs.
They kicked off with “Sleep”, a sludgy, expansive song that circles around your brain with its grunge-powered intro, and has exactly four brief verses, so all you need to do is attempt to process the elaborate soundscape successfully infiltrating your senses.
Next came “Through the Storm”, which pretended to be a steady headbanger, then flips the script into a dreamy psychedelic head trip.
Their music is deeply rooted in psych-rock, and the hook for each song was fabulously distinct, yet taken one after the other, all weave together into a seamless whole.
They are touring for their fourth album Bent (via Flightless), and they performed 14 songs overall, including 8 (of 10) from Bent.
The single “Dead Alive” from Bent, sounds like something the Genie in Aladdin would implore you to use a wish on. Hard to commit by picking one song out of the whole, but if pressed this was probably the best song they performed on the night. It’s about speaking the truth while you can.
Mid-set they played “Far From Earth”, about running away with someone, and is a pure futuristic rock track, with epic guitars riffs that Joe Satriani would definitely be caught playing live.
“Golden Dream” is an earlier banger about not giving up on your love. Throughout the set the background screen hypnotized us with strange, twisted shapes and colors, leading us to believe we might be high. On love, of course.
“Sister” had another great hook (yes, every song did), and highlighted Amy’s go for broke singing style, that made you wonder if she might burst a blood vessel. She didn’t, and the heavy beats could pass as the theme song for your next haunted house Halloween party.
They ended with “Eyes”, a track from their second album, As Above, So Below, a fitting coda to an evening of splendid rock.
I’m not saying you should rush out and pick up (at least) a copy of Bent right this very second (actually, I am), but whatever you do, don’t add it to your Christmas list because that’s too far away.
Hopefully the Findlay sisters will return to DC soon, and even more people will be there to enjoy Stonefield.
Through the Storm
Dog Eat Dog
Far From Earth
If I Die