Fans of the indie rock band Chastity Belt pooled around the stage at the Great American Music Hall on Saturday, waiting for the group to whisk them away to musical paradise. Masked in a soft, bright purple glow, Chastity Belt did just this with its feel-good music and chill, sold-out show.
Chastity Belt formed in Washington in 2010, consisting of lead singer Julia Shapiro, guitarist Lydia Lund, bassist Annie Truscott and drummer Gretchen Grimm. The group is known for satirizing feminist stereotypes while composing thoughtful, soul-searching lyrics about loneliness, free-spirited natures and forgiveness. This mix of reflective, relatable lyrics and light-hearted songs has earned the group a dedicated fanbase that constantly engages with the band. The group is currently on tour to support its fourth and latest record, Chastity Belt.
Chastity Belt was supported by Boy Scouts, an Oakland-based singer-songwriter otherwise known as Taylor Vick. Vick set the mood for the show by playing a series of soft tracks using only an electric guitar and her soothing voice. She expressed how she used to frequent the Great American Music Hall when she was younger, evoking feelings of wonder for crowd members who were now watching her onstage.
After the delicate opening, Chastity Belt took the stage amid deep purple lighting, greeting fans and launching into its first song. Despite Chastity Belt’s calm demeanor, fans gave off the opposite energy. Audience members danced ecstatically to the music, cheering loudly and bobbing their heads to the bright guitar chords and passionate vocals. The entire atmosphere of the Great American Music Hall felt down to earth; there was a sense of camaraderie as fans passed joints between one another with smiles, laughter and singing.
The band was visibly enjoying itself, listening to the crowd cheer for each and every song. Shapiro and Truscott often exchanged grinning glances and whispers in between songs, Lund laughing along as Grimm kept the beat steady and shared in the amusement from the back. The band could clearly feel the love in the air and reciprocated it by playing a song that had never been heard before.
Halfway into the set, Shapiro and Grimm switched places for a few songs. The drummer showcased her vocal talent while the lead vocalist tested out her chops on the drums, highlighting the versatility of the band members. Grimm announced that this San Francisco show took place the day before her 30th birthday, news that was met with immense cheering from the crowd. Fans humorously expressed that the 30s are a great era and that they’d buy her a shot after the show. In return, Shapiro joked that no one should worry, everyone would be able to buy her a shot.
Chastity Belt primarily played new songs, such as “Drown,” “The Process” and “Ann’s Jam,” while mixing in a few fan-favorites like “Different Now.” Shapiro’s platinum blonde hair glowed pink, purple and blue in the lighting, an absolutely fitting juxtaposition to Chastity Belt’s toned-down show.
The group briefly left the stage and returned for an encore consisting of the popular song “Seattle Party.” A few fans had shouted out the song name earlier, and they were pleasantly surprised when the band began playing the recognizable intro chords. “Are we having fun?” Shapiro sang. The crowd clearly was, not yet ready to leave its moment of bliss.
Chastity Belt doesn’t make loud, energetic music, but the energy in the room was beyond electric as fans swayed to the songs. And while the band couldn’t fit all of its fan-favorites into the hour-long set of mostly new songs, it made the most of its time and left fans feeling satisfied. As the venue slowly emptied, an air of contentment surrounded the exiting patrons. Bonding with hundreds of other fans to beautiful music was no doubt the highlight of their weekend.
Highlights: “Different Now,” “The Process,” “Seattle Party”
Pooja Bale covers music. Contact her at [email protected].