Belly come full circle with dream set at Teragram Ballroom in LA!
BELLY – Live at theTeragram Ballroom, Los Angeles, CA
Belly returned to Los Angeles for two nights at the Teragram Ballroom this week and it was so great to see them again and with new music to boot!
My first introduction to Tanya Donelly was in the late 80’s when she was with her original band, Throwing Muses. Always been a fan ever since and fascinated by her and her style. When she formed Belly in the early 90’s I was hooked immediately and saw her perform as Belly back in the day.
Two years ago Belly reformed and played a show at Teragram in LA and it was an amazing show! They were back!
Now two years later the band has recorded and released ‘Dove’, their 3rd studio album, 22 years after their last. And it may perhaps be their best. It at least completes a trilogy of sorts in the Belly music universe, with ‘Star’ and ‘King’ being the previous albums both in the 90’s.
The band started promptly just after 8 o’clock and opened with “Mine” the lead off track from ‘Dove’. This is a perfect opener and has great guitar hooks from lead guitarist Thomas Gorman.
Going backwards the band chose “Seal My Fate” from 1995’s ‘King’ to rev the crowd up some more. Chris Gorman’s drum beat is ever so perfect on this one and Tanya Donelly was just warming up.
The band shifted gears and went all the way back to the beginning with the ‘Star’ track “Feed The Tree” as the night and set progressed and the crowd got more comfortable. It was a Thursday night and the crowd could have been a bit more into it, but they were coming around.
Tanya grabbed her acoustic guitar for a set of more sentimental and sweet numbers with “The Bees” followed by a great version of “Girl” from Dove.
A really beautiful song and Tanya nailed it.
This portion of the first set was filled out with also new ones “Artifact” and “Stars Align”, so great to hear new Belly music LIVE!
The first set came to a close with a stellar version of “Now They’ll Sleep” from King and the set ended with a very surprising version of “Untogether” from ‘Star’. This was a surprise as it looked as though they hadn’t played this track in a while based on set lists and it is one of their best songs ever!
The band announced that just as they had done two years earlier they would take a short break and come back and play a second set.
And they did!
The band returned to the faithful to open the second set with the rollicking “Shiny One” from ‘Dove’. Gail Greenwood’s driving bass really stood out on this one, and quite frankly Gail is one of the most fun and real parts to this band. She is such a great rocker chick as is Donelly and it’s so great to watch her.
“Gepetto”, one other most recognizable songs made the set to the crowds liking and it sounded fresh and fun.
Next up the band played “Faceless”, it sounded perfect as Tanya Donelly sung “When I paint this day I’m gonna bathe you in light”, such great lyrics and it made for a nice moment. The lyrics are fantastic on the new album ‘Dove’, only disappointment was they didn’t play “Suffer The Fools” from it which is my favorite lyrically on the album.
The band announced they had some friends in the crowd, that being the band L7, Gail Greenwood’s former band, and what more reason to rock to “Dusted” as Gail plunged into it. This was a highlight! The ‘Star’ track had new life and was perfect! Girl power to infinity! These chicks are female rock legends.
And of course Kay Hanley from Letters to Cleo was playfully and lovingly brought on stage to rock with the band for another Belly classic “Slow Dog”.
It was officially a party and the night was in full effect!
Next the band launched into one of the best and biggest songs “Super-Connected” and the crowd officially went wild. Tanya’s vocals soared as they ripped through the upbeat and beautiful song.
After a touched and personal “Human Child” from ‘Dove’ the band chose “Full Moon, Empty Heart” to close the second set. This has to be one of their best live songs as they drag out the quiet and slow intro that builds to a huge finish.
The band returned to the stage for two encores, the first being a song they hadn’t performed in 23 years, if ever, “Silverfish” from ‘King’. This was a real treat and a perfect moment. Definitely a highlight.
The recent fires in California were burning near by and the sun looked bright red earlier in the evening. The final song of the night was a bone chilling and driving “Low Red Moon” and it was just amazing. The band had wrapped a two night LA journey with friends and fans and the universe was in perfect alignment. Belly is back, and better than ever!