Confession: some 26 years ago (to the day, as it happens: July 30th, 1997), I smuggled a trusty little recorder into what was then (and to many Philly music fans, may still be) known as the Electric Factory, and hit that little red “record” button as Veruca Salt took the stage, and leaned into the amplified feedback and heavy percussive intro to “Straight,” off of their then-just-released second record Eight Arms To Hold You, followed by a set that spanned the width of what at the time was their entire catalog: two full-length records and an EP, records that meant a lot to me, growing up in the mid-nineties.
Of course the recording quality was pretty godawful. It was just for me, just a way for a kid with a thriving, immersive music obsession to remember and relive a great night seeing a favorite band live. At least, it would’ve been, if I’d gotten to keep it.
A year prior, I had started DJ-ing a weekly radio show on Penn State’s WEHR, for which I had the idea to try to collect some station IDs from some of my favorite artists, and I decided after their show that night to see if a member of Veruca Salt’s crew would be amenable to making the request on my behalf. Standing behind the venue at the door by the tour bus loading dock, recorder in hand, I earnestly appealed to someone who appeared to be their tour manager. What I had not counted on, in my limited, amateur-hour foresight, was that it might actually work: he promptly held out a hand for my recorder – you know, the one that just then housed the tape of that night’s show. Without time to think at that point, or to switch cassettes, I handed it over, and he disappeared inside the building.
During that moment, I remained optimistic. Maybe they’d just hit ‘record,’ I sheepishly hoped. Maybe they wouldn’t rewind the tape, and discover I had just illicitly made myself a sad bootleg of their show of grade-D sound quality.
He reemerged and stood, door ajar, staring at me, my recorder in one hand, the tape in the other. It was clear that the indictment and conviction would be swift and concurrent. “That was pretty stupid,” he said succinctly – following, as he confiscated my cassette, “I’ll need to keep this.” I was too preoccupied with feeling like an idiot to protest, and held out my hand for the empty recorder, but to my surprise he added, “but if you have another cassette they’re still happy to do the IDs for you.”
Of course no one would’ve blamed the band for hurling my recorder out the Electric Factory door and into the night, to bounce its way down 7th Street, but I was so grateful at the time that, instead, singers Nina Gordon and Louise Post recorded short, personalized messages for my show. I cherished those, and I played them on air every week – along with one of their songs each time, of course – for the next two years or so.
Veruca Salt dissolved shortly after that due to internal disputes, and though they would later return having undergone some iterative changes over the next few years, that night would be the last time I would see any of them perform up until this month when, in support of her first solo album, Sleepwalker, Louise Post played The Foundry, upstairs at the Philly Fillmore. The weeknight crowd was small but vibrant, and she and her band shined as brightly as ever in an intimate venue, and Post courted new listeners with nearly every song from her new album including single “Guilty,” adding color with stage banter and backstories. The set offered up as many Veruca Salt cuts for longtime fans as new material, but she wasn’t capitulating with covers of their hits either (no, there would be no “Seether” or “Volcano Girls” on this tour), instead digging deeper for gems like “Save You,” tagged at the end with a piece of early Nirvana rager “Negative Creep,” and encore finale “Hellraiser,” off of 2000’s Resolver. When the opening notes of better-known tracks like “All Hail Me” or “Don’t Make Me Prove It” took shape, you could see the delighted responses among fans with whom Post was clearly able to connect with a poised, easy warmth throughout the evening. It was no pander and all thrills, as Post wielded her iconic Gibson SG’s all night, with supporting guitar work from Battleme’s Matt Drenik – especially for explosive, crushing choruses of loud-quiet-loud masterpieces “Spiderman ‘79” and “Shutterbug,” all sounding strikingly fresh, and the latter with a wink-and-a-nod for its local-sing-along line, “it’s morning in Philly” (ok maybe a little pandering).
Louise Post’s solo debut “Sleepwalker” is out now, available at louisepost.com and at your local record store.
Queen Of The Pirates
All Hail Me
Don’t Make Me Prove It
Used To Know Her
All These Years
Don’t Give Up
Best You Can Get
The Way We Live
God I Know
Review and Photography by: Joshua Pelta-Heller