The hour was late, but a large crowd still packed the El Korah Shrine to help LA-based band Cherry Glazerr ring in the third day of Treefort with a midnight show. The band was making a stop at the festival before heading overseas for a European tour in support of their new album “Stuffed and Ready.”
Cherry Glazerr straddles the line between an effortlessly cool variety of indie rock and a powerful, grungy sound — a juxtaposition that has evolved in interesting directions through each of the group’s critically acclaimed releases. The El Korah show provided a sampling from a number of these records, leaning most heavily on the new album and the 2014 release “Haxel Princess,” which contains a number of fan favorites.
The band brought a few special gizmos, including an extra microphone that caused singer Clementine Creevy’s voice to echo as if from the bottom of a well, and brief technical struggles with these caused some delay.
By 12:15 a.m., however, the band was sound checked and ready to play, ripping into their set with the track “Ohio,” which also opens the newest album. While not singing, Creevy roamed the stage, rocking out with the drummer and bassist. She was a playful performer, pausing after a song to flex and kiss her biceps, and later wandering down the side stage stairs while her rhythm section pummelled away.
The enthusiasm Creevy and the rest of her band brought was matched by much of the audience, many of whom had already been standing for two or three shows preceding Cherry Glazerr. A large cluster of younger fans brought the most energy while headbanging, moshing and dancing their way through the hour-long set. A half-dozen crowd surfers coasted their way across the top of the audience, all of them eventually making it safely back to the ground.
The band quickly dove into their older material, bringing out the cool and sneering “Had Ten Dollaz,” a song that loops endlessly around a laid-back bassline and perfect, breathy vocals. While it was still an excellent addition to the set list, the song highlighted the issue that plagued the band throughout night: the bass was turned up much louder than Creevy’s guitar and vocals, and on songs where these parts were more stripped down, they were all but drowned out. This, combined with the near inaudibility of Creevy’s extra microphone, led to some songs being a throbbing bassline with little else to latch onto.
While these flaws in the mixing did hold a few songs back, the combined energy of the performers and the audience more than compensated for it. And when Creevy belted her lyrics and distorted her guitar, she could be heard just fine, and it was in these moments that the band was at their best. When the group erupted into the hard-rocking chorus of “Juicy Socks,” or ripped through the gritty “Wasted Nun,” the power was undeniable, and the show being a bit bass-heavy hardly hindered the band’s performance.
Any problems with sound are out of character for the El Korah Shrine, a venue that has become something of a Treefort institution. The building has hosted memorable acts like Mac Demarco and Alvvays, and offers a strange charm. One showgoer mentioned he felt his high school prom could have been held in the large concert hall, and the space does feel something like a high school gymnasium, given its size and wooden floors. But this quality is offset by large murals decorating the walls, depicting men leading camels and ranges of pyramids. Hanging above the center of the stage is the esoteric insignia of the Shriners, lit in neon, which glows down on the musicians who stand under it. As the building only serves as a venue during Treefort, its quirks have come to feel like a necessary part of the festival.
Cherry Glazerr closed their set on a high note, blasting through “Told You I’d Be With the Guys,” the much-loved single off their 2017 release, “Apocalipstick.” True to a favored formula of the band, the song loops through the same verse multiple times. On her second trip, Creevy gleefully shrieked the lyrics, beaming out at an audience that had remained fired up for the entire set. When the song was done, she blew kisses out to the crowd, wishing them well as they staggered out into the night, headed to bed or to a bar, and another full day of music on Friday.