The indie rock project of guitarist Sadie Dupuis, Speedy Ortiz has been a tour de force, now back on a massive North America tour with the release of their latest album “Rabbit Rabbit.” The title, a reference to Dupuis’ own posting of the phrase “Rabbit Rabbit” every first day of the month on Twitter (is anyone calling it “X?”) which dates back to a superstition that saying the phrase aloud provides one good luck. On their latest tour, Speedy Ortiz played the Miami mainstay venue Gramps in Wynwood, presented by Breakeven Booking.
First on the bill are LA indie rockers Suzie True on their last show of the Speedy tour. Clad in platform heels, babydoll dresses, knee socks, the band, especially singer Lexi McCoy’s aesthetic with a butterfly bass guitar, plays into a femme punk ethos reminiscent of artists like L7 and Babes in Toyland. Their debut record “Sentimental Scum” riffs off distorted, sludgy guitars with co-vocalist/guitarist G Leonardo has the shouty, bratty quality that artists like Olivia Rodrigo have co-opted with far more hitting commentary. The dynamic between Leonardo and McCoy reflects heavily in the music and the interplay between the two musicians is so bright and bubbly to witness on stage.
Singer-producer Will Wiesenfeld aka Baths has been on the road with Speedy on this leg of the tour from D.C. back to his home in LA, but on the Miami stop his electronica sound felt right at home. With III Points happening the weekend before, the city was flooded with bassheads fiending for artists like Despacio and Fred Again. Baths’ brand of electropop features a terminally chill, house-inspired beat with washes of Björk’s “Homogenic” rhythms and some of Sufjan Stevens’ “The Age of Adz” tackling queerness and existential themes.
Armed with an MFA in poetry and a rotating series of six-strings, singer/guitarist Sadie Dupuis’ laments:
“How to grow up? Lately I don’t really push much/I’m tired of anger/How to move on?
Even comets are staying in one spot/I’m tired of anger” as Speedy Ortiz opens with their latest record’s closing track “Ghostwriter.” While Dupuis’ pen game has arguably been one of the sharpest in the indie rock sphere, on the record “Rabbit Rabbit” the singer’s words are forefront, with melody and instrumentation providing a Trojan Horse of intricate riffs and clever beats.
While various musicians have backed the self-proclaimed “frontdemon” over a series of records, the current iteration of the group features Andy Moholt who plays guitar on the record and in the live show also handles the synthesizer parts that bring the electronic tinge to the band’s sound. Though Dupuis tackles an extremely tall order of lead guitar and lead vocals, Moholt’s rhythm guitar provides a wall of sound interwoven through the intricate shredding lead. Bassist Audrey Zee Whitesides who also performs with Brooklyn-based singer Mal Blum, is featured on the album and in the live show finds her groove covering not only the low end but also providing backing vocals. The newest musician in the fold is drummer Joey Doubek who also plays in the anti-capitalist punk band Downtown Boys. Going from the Downtown Boys’ hard and fast tempos to Speedy Ortiz’s more measured and calculated beats fits Doubek’s style expertly.
Primarily performing in support of “Rabbit Rabbit,” the set also consisted of some of the band’s more well-known tracks off of “Foil Deer,” the stellar “Sports EP,” and “Buck Me Off” from their last LP “Twerp Verse.” Back in 2019, the band played Miami twice in support of “Twerp Verse,” once at Gramps and again opening for Interpol at the Fillmore. Clearly the 305 has left an indelible mark on Speedy Ortiz as guitarist Andy Moholt, clad in the appropriate Tommy Bahama attire, claimed on stage that Miami is one of the band’s favorite places to play. As an activist, singer Sadie Dupuis has committed to an ethos of social justice throughout her music and words. At the merch table, Dupuis has a tip bucket, encouraging to donate to Palestinian aid relief and on the stage implored for people to be aware of the current conflict in Gaza.
2023 marks not only Speedy’s fourth major studio album, but also the ten-year anniversary of their debut album “Major Arcana.” While the band did not play the breakthrough single from that record, “No Below,” made famous due to a feature in the video game “Life is Beautiful” or a pre-album single “Taylor Swift,” featured in the television show “Adventure Time,” the band’s musical evolution is something to witness. Closing the show with the track “MKVI” the members of Suzie True took over the musical reins for Sadie and co. in its noisy climax, a possible reference to an iconic SXSW moment of a pre-landlording Hannibal Burress taking over on drums.
Speedy Ortiz Setlist
Raising the Skate
Buck Me Off
Cry Cry Cry
Emergency & Me
Ballad of Y & S
Ranch vs. Ranch
MKVI (with Suzie True)