Betty Who and Geographer played the Republic recently, and on paper, that may have made sense. But while in the club, folks might have been scratching their heads. This isn’t the first time Betty Who has brought along a band to open that was a shade bit different than she is. The last time she was in town, COIN was on the bill. COIN, much like Geographer, has a musical style nothing like that of Betty Who. I’m sure it was, and is, a conscious decision to bring out a band that is different, in order to help highlight her own style.
Geographer was amazing again. I saw them with Empires (another WAY different band) at Gasa Gasa back in May of 2015, and they were every bit as pleasing Monday as they were then. The main difference–other than the venue change–was a headlining gig versus a support one. The band was as lively as ever, and even though the Who Crew was in full effect, the band did manage to make a healthy impression on them.
Betty Who is singer Jessica Anne Newham’s alter ego. Newham grew up in Australia and migrated to the U.S. for college. She attended Berklee College of Music in Boston where she met producer Peter Thomas, who would later become instrumental in molding Newham’s sound. Bassist Jemila Naomi Dunham is from New Orleans and was a fellow Berklee alum. She has served as one of the pivotal musicians involved in the beginnings of Newham’s career, and continues to be now.
Betty Who came to town on her Party in the Valley tour in support of her latest effort, The Valley. The set was stacked with tracks from that and her debut Take Me When You Go, more infancies on the latest work, but that really wasn’t any surprise. The set also included a fun cover of Donna Lewis’s “I Love You Always Forever.”
This and her 2015 show highlighted what and how a pop icon is created. She reminds me of what might have been the looks of the beginning of Madonna’s career. I could easily see the evolution from the last show to this one. She opted out of playing synth, and instead brought along two male dancers to push along her pop diva persona. Funny enough, though, on stage, she comes off that way. But, from the outside and off-stage, she doesn’t seem to be like that at all. She is really down-to-earth and still enjoys every minute of the ride. You can see more pictures here.