The Hippo


Jul 23, 2019








Lung. Photo by Khriscinda Granaas.

When Particles Collide, Lung and Donaher 

Where: Shaskeen Pub, 909 Elm St., Manchester
When: Friday, April 21, 9 p.m.

Heavy sound
Cello and drums duo Lung returns to Shaskeen

By Michael Witthaus

 It’ll be an evening of duos and the live debut of a promising local band at Manchester’s Shaskeen Pub on April 21, a Friday night show starring When Particles Collide, a guitar-and-drums pop rock effort that’s also a love story — its members Sasha Alcott and Chris Viner married three years after the band formed. 

Opening is Donaher, a Manchester quartet that recently released its first single, “Heather,” a buoyant confection with a Fountains of Wayne and Weezer vibe; it’s part of a forthcoming album produced by Gary Cioffi. The group is  led by comic and erstwhile rocker Nick Lavallee and troubadour Tristan Omand. 
Featuring on the three-act bill is Lung, the Cincinnati-based team of cellist Kate Wakefield and drummer Daisy Caplan. Electric Light Orchestra long ago validated the cello as a rock and roll instrument, but Lung takes it to an even heavier place on its first album, Bottom of the Barrel. Songs like the edgy title track and the pulsing “Hypochondriac” offer an earthquake’s worth of low end, with a Europop sheen.
In a recent interview, Wakefield recalled that her instrument choice was born from curiosity and necessity. 
“I can’t really play guitar and I like rock music,” she said. “I started writing music for cello and voice and started wondering what it would sound like if I used an electric one and plugged it into distortion pedals and a bass amp. ... I think cello is definitely a rockin’ instrument, and of course, there are rock and roll cello groups like Rasputina.”
Lung formed when the two were between projects, Wakefield’s solo work on hold and Caplan done with Babe Rage, an industrial progressive band he formed when the highly successful glam rock group Foxy Shazam went on hiatus. Both were enduring a particularly trying winter when they met to write together. 
“I guess that brings good music collaborations,” Caplan said.
They released Bottom of the Barrel last fall; a tour in support of the record included an initial show at the Shaskeen. 
“That was mostly because they would have us,” Caplan said with a laugh. 
“And because they are awesome,” added Wakefield. “The bands we played with were awesome, too. It’s a cool club.”
Since officially becoming a band one year ago, both have quit their jobs are are now full-time musicians. Their current tour began on St. Patrick’s Day in Louisville, across the river from their hometown, and continued south — the interview happened via phone when they were in Charlotte, North Carolina — then up into the Rust Belt, 44 shows in all, with barely a break.
“I know some people who don’t do work every day and take days off,” Wakefield said, “and our job is way more awesome than theirs.” 
Caplan agreed.  
“Yeah, it’s pretty fun,” he said. “Every place that we go has a very different feel; you get high off  that energy and go forward to the next spot.”
Favorite  shows on the current run included a couple in Florida. 
“A pizza place in Cape Coral, with a rapper and a bunch of metal bands,” Caplan said. “I really dug  a show in Miami that was about this woman’s art; she’s also a musician. All her art was on the walls and she played really beautiful acoustic folk music as well. That was pretty sweet.”
A while back, the two performed at a satanic temple. 
“Daisy is good friends with someone who is a mover and a shaker in that community,” Wakefield said. “The show was like a celebration of the changing of the seasons.”
“That was one of the most memorable shows, I think,” Caplan said. “There were a lot of naked people covered in blood.”
Wakefield has resumed work on her solo record, nearly three years in the making and due for summer release. 
“Acoustic cello and voices that I loop; lots of live harmonies and layering,” she said. “It informed this project because before I started working on it, I had no idea of how to write for cello and voice. … Playing cello and singing at the same time is more difficult than I had anticipated.”

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