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Fond Han and Dove Lady in Lancaster, PA | Live Review

by Sean Deveney (@autonomousnloud)

When I saw that Fond Han and Dove Lady were coming to my area in central Pennsylvania, I had two thoughts. The first was that I would definitely be going, and the second was the prediction that there would probably not be that many people there. Palm played the same venue back in October, and the number was in or close to single digits. 

It turned out that I was the only one there who was not in one of the bands or a member of the venue’s staff. Despite this and partly because of it, this show became a very memorable experience. 

I walked in just after Max Jupiter had started to play and was immediately interested in their heavy yet unique post-hardcore influenced sound. Later I found out they are from Boston after talking to the singer and guitarist Oliver whose vocals drew me in and made me notice how intriguing a band they really are. 

Fond Han later took the stage and proceeded to blow my mind. They immediately launched into something I could only describe as an explosion in the best possible way. The tone then quickly shifted to a more melodic and sad approach that still contained the sonic dust of the initial experimental burst of sound. Thomas Baumann’s drumming shifts effortlessly between precision and being purposefully off-kilter, while his vocals are often sad and heartfelt. You can never predict what will happen next except that you won’t forget it. 

When Dove Lady went on, I had a feeling it would be good. They ended up being the perfect follow up to Fond Han because of their bizarre and explosive approaches that then quiet down. You know you’re at a great show when you frequently have the thought “what exactly is happening right now?” Soon after, or immediately, you decide you like it and then you go through that all over again. Honestly, that is how you know you’re hearing something genuinely original and worth experiencing. These bands are just insanely good. 

Apparently what we got that night was a toned-down version of Dove Lady due to Andrew Thawley dislocating both his shoulders a few nights before. I don’t understand how it’s possible to play the drums with dislocated shoulders at all let alone very well. In fact, this entire show seemed to go on and succeed in spite of a lot of things. 

Because I was the only one there, I got to talk to them a lot. They were happy that at least one person enjoyed it, and I was thrilled they decided to play in my area at all and still put forth the same dedication as if it were a packed show (I even got some free merch). Dislocated shoulders and minimal to non-existent attendance would have discouraged a lot of people. For these three bands, however, it seemed to inspire them to make it special, and it certainly was.