Review: Tancred and Queen of Jeans entertain at AfterHours


Seamus McAvoy

The most recent event in the “Tastemakers Presents” series took place last Saturday in AfterHours, featuring performances from Queen of Jeans and headlining act Tancred. Though the crowd wasn’t the largest to begin with, the atmosphere changed for the better as soon as the show began, with more and more filling in as time went on.

Tancred, also known as Jess Abbott, was previously the guitarist of Minnesota-based indie rock group Now, Now. She released her first full-length album under the new name in 2011 and has released three more, the most recent of which debuted June 1.

Though “Nightstand” is her fourth project, Abbott explained that it wasn’t until working with producer Lewis Pesacov on this album that she was afforded the tools and resources necessary to explore and perfect the tone of each song.

“My favorite part of each day was sitting down to decide which guitar we needed to use for the song we were recording,” Abbott wrote on her Bandcamp page. “It sounds so simple and I know most records are made this way, but it was my first time actually being able to do that and I loved it.”

There is a punk quality to Tancred’s alternative rock sound that echoes the angst of a post-grunge band from the early 2000s. Abbott delivered songs touching on themes of identity crises and loneliness, with an authority reminiscent of Alanis Morissette, even as the sonic palette laid a more modern backdrop to intentionally universal lyrics. Abbott opted for a solo version of “Apple Tree Girl” for this show, a touching song expressing a longing desire to comfort a distraught lover, and the minimal instrumentation made for a powerful performance.

“I wanted the album to have a timeless feel to it, so you could hear my stories of love and loneliness and sense that these are themes that have existed for everyone forever,” Abbott wrote.

Abbott was joined by a drummer and bassist for the set, though not the other touring musicians that usually complete Tancred. Despite this being the first show the group played together, the trio synergized seamlessly, adding a fantastic intensity to the songs and complimenting Abbott’s tone on guitar and vocals.

“I hadn’t heard of Tancred before, but I binged the last couple of weeks,” said Emily Harris, a third-year communication studies major. “I just love live music.”

Queen of Jeans, an indie rock group, opened the show. With their first full-length album, Queen of Jeans have proven themselves adept at creating lush and diverse soundscapes that lure you in like psychedelic sirens. Their unique, twangy guitar tone layered perfectly with Devora’s talented vocals and the smooth backing of Glass and Scotto.

Queen of Jeans’ Nina Scotto strums at AfterHours. / Photo by Brian Bae.

“It had kind of a dreamy feel to it with the harmonizing vocals and the guitar, I really liked that,” said Nik Pousette, a third-year computer science student.

The group has a similar sound to Cocteau Twins in their unique synthesis of psychedelic rock with lush harmonies, emphasized by a killer, distortion-laden guitar solo from Glass to cap off the set. For a relatively young band, their comfort and confidence in their ability to create a mood in their extended instrumental bridges was as admirable as it was well-warranted. Overall, the audience enjoyed compelling performances from two talented groups of artists.

“It’s always a great show, Queen of Jeans and Tancred really did a great job,” said Grant Foskett, a second-year computer science student.

Tancred’s latest album “Nightstand” is available now and begins touring later this month in Arizona, coming back to Boston Nov. 6. Queen of Jeans’s latest project, “Dig Yourself,” is also available now and they will be kicking off their tour in New York, returning to Massachusetts Dec. 2.