Cambridge’s newest venue, Sonia’s, is almost as beautiful as Palehound’s sophomore album A Place I’ll Always Go, which would explain why Palehound held their album release show at the newly renovated space last week. Ellen Kempner, the human behind the hound, spent time before the show chatting with friends and fans, while working her own merchandise table selling pink starburst vinyl and comic zines.
After opening bands Halfsour and Stove set the mood for the night, Kempner takes the stage. The pale, blue lights create a melancholic aura around her and her glitzy Harmony guitar. She opens with “Hunter’s Gun” and “Carnations” off the new album before announcing the show will be an entire playthrough of A Place I’ll Always Go. Kemper delivers breathy, whispered songs with such tenacity that her nerves are barely visible on stage, but she tells us anyways. She bares her soul to Sonia’s with each song; a deceased friend that inspired “Silver Toaster,” the high school film students who helped produce the “If You Met Her” music video.
The weight of Palehound’s energy and expended emotion lay heavy on the audience once she concludes A Place I’ll Always Go. After she’s tucked it in for the night, she breaks out some oldies like “Pet Carrot” and “Molly” to round out the night.
“This is a dream come true,” says Kemper, “I moved here three years ago and never thought this would happen.” She’s not performing anymore, she’s celebrating in a room full of friends, family, and devoted fans.
Palehound’s sophomore album A Place I’ll Always Go illuminates the spectrum of human emotions and Kempner does a superb job at capturing that sliding scale. Be sure to catch her lighting up the stage with Waxahatchee this August at the Royale.