A Tuesday Night for Rock ‘n’ Roll with Liz Cooper & The Stampede and Babe Club
This past Tuesday night, Liz Cooper & The Stampede rolled into Charleston to join Babe Club for a show at The Pour House. It was a solid pairing and a show that I had been looking forward to ever since it was first announced. Liz Cooper & The Stampede are still running strong off the August release of their full-length debut, Window Flowers, which was one of my favorite albums to come out of 2018. It’s dreamy, psychedelic folk rock that borders on jam territory, and their live show dives straight into the jam.
Babe Club kicked things off with their second set of the week, the first being a surprise house show on Friday night at Dunk Zone. That show at Dunk Zone was big for them. They had just gotten back from recording in Atlanta, which means they were holed up in a studio dissecting their songs and working out all the kinks. The Dunk Zone show gave them a chance to try some new things out, some of which had just been developed in the studio. By the time they took the stage at Dunk Zone, it was coming up on 11pm, and the crowd was all hyped up from Cry Baby, Cicala, and Baby Yaga. Babe Club delivered the energetic, intimate set that we all wanted. It felt like Corey and Jenna coming out of their shell, both as creatives and as performers, and it was a beautiful thing to witness.
It’s not often that a band plays a house show and then plays at the Pour House four days later, and it was interesting to see the difference between the two sets. The Pour House offered Babe Club a much bigger stage and all the amenities that come with it. They started out a little more stiff, but once they got into the groove they were running all over the stage just like they did at Dunk Zone. All the time that Corey and Jenna spent on the road with SUSTO is really showing itself in their performances as Babe Club. They’ve had tons of practice in front of crowds of all sizes, and it translates over into the things they’re willing to try as performers. Corey will run out into the crowd, Jenna will climb on top of anything on the stage that looks sturdy enough to stand on, and the two of them aren’t afraid of a little PDA.
The only song that Babe Club has released so far is “Hate Myself”, but there’s another song they’ve been playing lately called “I Need A Girl” that really stands out. Jenna likes to tell the ladies in the crowd that she’s looking to make friends before they go into a song about wanting to be able to cut loose with the girls. It’s catchy, and it comes with a message of empowerment that is completely badass. I’m calling it now: that song is a hit. If I’m wrong I’ll buy you a beer.
Liz Cooper & The Stampede continued the night’s trend of being comfortable on stage with their closing set. They were much more relaxed here than when they opened for Houndmouth at the Charleston Music Hall in September. When they played at the Music Hall, the record had just come out, and nobody knew the songs, or had even heard of Liz Cooper & The Stampede. Most everybody was there to see Houndmouth. The Pour House show last week was their first time headlining a stage in Charleston, and they were clearly glad to be here.
When they played “The Night”, the second track off Window Flowers, the band took full advantage of the pause that comes at the end of the chorus. Liz sang, “Come lose yourself and dance…” and they stopped playing. Liz was then free to make the crowd wait as long as she wanted before finishing the line. The anticipation grew and grew, and Liz just stood there smirking. Then she sang the final words of the line, “…with me”, and the band flowed right back into the song, and the crowd flowed with them. This is only possible because the band is tight enough to come back in together, on cue, as soon as Liz is ready. It gives them some room to add unique elements to their performance that couldn’t really take place in rehearsal, because the crowd’s anticipation is just as important as the band’s ability to work in tandem.
These antics with “The Night” are part of the overall sense that Liz Cooper & The Stampede like to screw with the crowd and with each other during their performance. At one point, Liz and bassist Grant Prettyman were singing harmonies on one microphone, and Liz stuck her finger in Grant’s mouth. That obviously threw him off, and they both stopped singing for a second to laugh about it. They act like siblings who all smoke weed together when their parents aren’t home, and at the Pour House we got to join them for a night.
For the encore, Liz came out and played a song by herself, and then Grant and Ryan jumped back out and they went into an unexpected cover of Estelle’s “American Boy”. They infused it with a little bit of The Stampede, but it was true to its dance-pop form and the crowd ate it up.
See more photos from the night below. All photos by Alex Wiley.
All photos by Alex Wiley.