On Friday night, Trails and Ways headlined the Bootleg, which is exactly where they began their summer tour earlier this year in support of their debut album, Pathology. That night they were supported by Breakfast and Babes, two fun loving local acts. I caught Babes, who performed a very memorable set to say the least, and Trails and Ways followed it up with their delightful and fresh tropical pop.
Babes are an indie rock quintet, where three of the members are actually siblings. Everyone in the group has a distinct personality, and their rapport with the crowd was natural. Their set began with a request to turn the lights all the way down, the only illumination coming from their teardrop fog machine, which covered the entire theater in a colorful haze. A few songs in, though, lead singer Sarah Rayne asked for some of the lights to come up, explaining “I think I just played that entire last song in the wrong key.” If it makes you feel any better, Sarah, you guys were being so much fun that we didn’t even notice. Babes play vintage pop, complete with boisterous guitars and dramatic lyrics, and no one could have delivered the drama quite like Rayne did. Rayne was a child actor, with small roles in Toy Story, ER, and some sitcoms. Though those were years ago, it’s apparent that she was destined to become a performer, and we are lucky that she has found a home in music.
Rayne commanded not only the stage, but also the crowd, specifically when she hopped down and danced in the throngs of people toward the front. This was during “Nothing Left in My Heart,” when she collapsed onto the floor and wrapped herself around the legs of a nearby concert goer. Her voice was unwavering, evoking the simultaneous pain and relief that the lyrics describe, even while clinging to this man. He helped her to stand again and she threw her arms around him, singing the song directly to him, and to every other person she brushed against during this performance. It was a pretty incredible thing to witness, and I would like to take a moment to honor the crew member that was keeping an eye on her mic cord, ensuring it didn’t get disconnected while Rayne frolicked through the crowd: sir, you are doing the Lord’s work.
Oakland natives Trails and Ways followed that, and they sounded just as wonderful as I remembered; when I saw them in June, they were on fire. After finishing their month and a half long tour and taking a few weeks off, they returned to the Bootleg even more excited than before, thankful for all the fan support that sparked their rise to regional indie fame. That night also happened to be main vocalist/guitarist Keith Brower Brown’s birthday, giving us one more reason to celebrate. They played through most of Pathology, excluding the tracks that feature guest vocalists that were not present that night. Their set flew by, and though it’s been over for a few days now, somehow, “Jacaranda” is still stuck in my head.
Words: Zoë Elaine
Photography: Wes Marsala