San Francisco-based Geographer came to Terminal West in Atlanta on August 23rd to try out some new songs from their forthcoming 5 song EP, Alone Time, due out this fall and their first since 2015’s buzzed about LP Ghost Modern. While the new EP promises a leap forward for Geographer, this night provided surprises beyond just new music.
Since I was turned on to the fact that Geographer was coming to town only a few days before this show happened, I just figured that perhaps this was kind of a pop up type event or it just so happened to be one of those shows that just weren’t well promoted enough and slipped through the cracks. I just sort of figured that Geographer was headlining this show, after all the band has built some momentum over the last seven or so years with frontman and multi-instrumentalist Mike Deni captivating crowds behind his magnetic stage presence and emotive indie pop.
It wasn’t until a few hours before the show that I found out that Geographer wasn’t the headliner, that slot belonged to Betty Who. Who the F*ck is Betty Who? Well she had a t-shirt at her merch table that said exactly that, so I knew I wasn’t alone in wondering this. A quick look around this audience at Terminal West though, I realized that I was in fact the only one there that didn’t know who Betty Who is. And this show was completely sold out to max.
While Geographer may not have been the headliner, Deni and crew have joined Betty Who on almost 20 sold out dates across North America this August and early September. Not only does Geographer get to try out new songs in front of Betty Who’s rabid fan base, but these fans get to the show very early, and they are ready to dance from the time the first lights on the stage flash. It’s a win for Geographer; this is a band that’s never had a problem getting audiences moving.
And dance they did. Geographer was sure to play some of their more popular songs including “Kites” and “I’m Ready”. Mike Deni bounced around the stage all night, singing songs straight from the heart that had audience members singing along. Deni is just one of those guys that draws in his audience because he’s so in tune with not only his songs, but the audience itself. You just know he means it, and loves its, which is compelling in it’s own right.
Mike Deni is joined on stage by Duncan Nielsen on guitar, bass, vocals and keys, and Cody Rhodes on drums, with the interesting new dynamic of Joyce Lee on electric cello and synths. The addition of Lee gives Geographer the opportunity to further bring to life his airy compositions on the new EP. She was certainly a killer addition to the live set; actually relieving the focus on Deni at times as you became enamored with her cello. On “Read My Mind”, off of the soon to be released EP, Geographer builds throughout with soothing synths until he hits with club ready beats that sure got this crowd bouncing in a weightless world inside of Terminal West. Geographer really has seemed to take the uplifting quality to their songs a level up on this new EP. And they certainly found some new fans in Atlanta on this evening.
So Who the F*ck is Betty Who? Right, she is an Australian-born pop singer who claims influences of Whitney Houston (wrote her first official song after Houston’s death), Joni Mitchell, Carole King, M83, and MGMT. She also mentioned during this show her love for Britney Spears while bringing out an acoustic guitar and wanting to show off her songwriter side outside her love for Britney. Betty Who has released two albums including 2017’s The Valley. Oh yeah, and she’s the next big pop star. Seriously, all I had to do is look around at this sold out crowd and it was obvious how much they love Betty Who.
And who am I to judge? I can’t say that I’ve been to many straight up pop shows like this. If any. Sure I love “indie pop”, whatever that exactly is, but this was “pop” music on another level, the radio friendly kind. In fact, she had male backup dancers with her attached to her every part all night. Seriously trying to rack my brain on a show I’ve seen with backup dancers? Empire of the Sun years ago at the Tabernacle? But those weren’t dancers like this. But who really cares right? The audience had a blast, and as a photographer, this was a fun shoot. Besides it’s clear that Betty Who is soon going to be a well known name, or maybe she already is (Hello sold out show), she puts on a great performance for her audiences. And has a great time doing it.
Check out Mike Gerry‘s photos from the show:
UPCOMING GEOGRAPHER TOUR DATES:
Sep 4 – Montreal, QC – La Sala Rossa *
Sep 6 – Brooklyn, NY – Brooklyn Steel *
Sep 7 – Philadelphia, PA – Boot & Saddle
Sep 8 – Pittsburgh, PA – Club Café Live
Sep 9 – Chicago, IL – Schubas
Sep 11 – Denver, CO – Globe Hall
Sep 12 – Salt Lake City, UT – Urban Lounge ^
Sep 14 – Sacramento, CA – Harlow’s
* with Betty Who
^ with Strange Familia
MORE INFO ON GEOGRAPHER