100Bands Review

Live: James Vincent McMorrow (100Bands #59)

Photo Credit: Kyle of Music Savage / view entire set on flickr

What’s Left: 87 Days. 41 Bands.

Band #59: James Vincent McMorrow

When/Where: June 8, 2011, The Paradise, Allston, MA

Expectations: Very excited to see the much-adored Irish folk singer, especially since he’s a Sunset in the Rearview favorite. Read Lydia’s interview with him here.

Concert: There is something unbelievably lonely about a man and his acoustic guitar standing by himself on a large stage in front of 100 or more people. James Vincent McMorrow played his entire set solo and looked even lonelier up there when the crowd persisted in a dull roar of conversation, even in the front rows, making it impossible to block out the chatter. All of the wonderful subtleties that come through on James Vincent McMorrow’s album were lost to the chatter. Songs like “If My Heart Should Somehow Stop” and “Follow You Down to the Red Oak Tree” felt more desperate and meloncholic sung through the talk.

However, the parts I love most about McMorrow’s music still shone through, which is a testament to his talent. His songs are full of “ohh ohhhs” and there is as much beauty and emotion conveyed in those as his well written lyrics. Live, his voice is just as amazing and ravishing as it is on the record. His emotive falsetto can absolutely soar. Despite the talk, he was even able to provide some pleasant banter that reminded me of the great personality he has in his interviews. He really let loose and sang louder for the last two songs of his set. Hearing “Sparrow and the Wolf” stripped down to only the acoustic guitar made it a different song (I’d tell you more about it if I could’ve heard it). His last song, “If I Had a Boat” was sung with all his might and got more of the crowd’s attention and was the highlight of the show for me. It’s unfortunate that the crowd made any James Vincent McMorrow fan want to get in a boat and sail away.

Concert Afterglow: I wish he had stuck around after so that the folks who listened and bought his album could have told him that he was appreciated and wonderful. I passive aggressively crushed a beer can in my hand instead. Still, he’s a fantastic musician and the next time I get a chance to see him, I will.

Recommendation: Putting James Vincent McMorrow on the Bell X1 tour might not have been the best match up. I am sure he shines in an intimate setting and if you get a chance to see him in such a setting, jump on it. It’d also be nice to see him with a full band. Just be wary of this particular tour, and if you do go, I hope your city has a more respectful crowd than mine.

MP3: James Vincent McMorrow – If I Had a Boat

Below is a live recording of “If My Heart Should Somehow Stop” from the concert. You can clearly hear McMorrow’s voice but you hear a lot of talk as well. I know Sunset readers respect music so please take this as a friendly PSA to not talk like this at a concert. This isn’t just the one guy or because it’s an iPhone recording, it really was this loud and chatty throughout the venue. I am in no way associated with the person who recorded and posted the song. It’s a shame a review of a talented musician had to get bogged down with concert manner issues. Sorry for that.

James Vincent McMorrow-If My Heart Should Somehow Stop at Paradise Lounge

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Live: Robert Sarazin Blake (100Bands #53)

What’s Left: 128 Days. 47 Bands

Band #53: Robert Sarazin Blake

When/Where: April 20th, Lizard Lounge, Cambridge, MA

Expectations: I’ve seen Robert Sarazin Blake once before when he opened for The Powder Kegs (who also play as his East Coast backing band) a few months back. He was one of those openers that caught the crowd’s attention with his sound that could be described as some strange hybrid of Jonathan Richman, Lou Reed, and Bill Callahan. But of course he has his own stories to tell. Sounds good, right? I even walked away the last time with his album, The Air Your Lungs Forced Out. So needless to say the expectations were high.

Concert: Blake played largely from his two new albums both released this year, Put it All Down in a Letter and The Belfast Sessions. Opening with “Hanging On”, as he told the crowd it’s a song about that time after a break-up when you think you should get back together, illiciting laughs before he even played a note.

The Lizard Lounge is not the easiest of places to get full attention from the audience and the stage is more a carpeted rectangle of space awkwardly flanked by tables and chairs on three sides than it is a stage. However, Blake being a master of stage presence and completely at ease, was capable of bringing the crowd to a complete silence more than a few times. During many of his songs there is a lull as he breaks from singing to more of a spoken word stream of conciousness and the crowd dutifully listened to every word. Especially as he adlibed and threw in Cambridge references, spoke of dancing with an Emerson student, and the upcoming performance from Lake Street Drive during his song “I Didn’t Call You from Philadelphia”. That adlibing is something I remembered from the last performance I saw and Blake’s ability to make a story out of a moment, a moment every audience member is a part of no less, is the one of the best forms of concert entertainment I’ve ever experienced.

 

The interludes of fiddle and piano solos as well as guitar solos from the talented Jefferson Hamer upped the entertainment factor as well. A large reason I decided to go was because two songs have been rattling around my brain from the last time I saw him and I had to hear them again. I did get to hear the beautiful song “Farm in New Hampshire” and the song that I was most looking forward to “We Can Roll Down Tonite/Dublin to Belfast”. The latter is actually a combination of two songs, one being his friend’s song and the rest being some accumulation of thoughts and words he had jotted down. I still don’t think I’ve ever heard anything like that.

 

Concert Afterglow: I love the emotions and responses that Robert Sarazin Blake can draw out of his audience whether he is ad-libbing or reciting a monologue, or singing. He puts on a “show” in every sense of the word. He also happens to be a mighty fine dancer.

 

Recommendation: I happen to be seeing him again tonight because I enjoy his music and his performance so much. I can’t imagine many reasons why I would ever miss one of his shows. He travels constantly so chances are you might just be able to catch one of his many concerts, I highly suggest you do.

MP3: We Can Roll Down Tonite/ Dublin To Belfast by Robert Sarazin Blake

Stream/Buy his music on his bandcamp site. He has released 2 LPs in 2011.
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Live: The Apache Relay (100Bands #52)

What’s Left: 148 Days. 48 Bands.
Band #52: The Apache Relay

When/Where: April 7th, Great Scott, Allston, MA
Expectations:I wasn’t at SXSW, but this band kept popping up in tweets, blogs, and articles. I had never heard of them before March and now I want to see what it’s all about.

Concert: The Apache Relay opened for Tristen and Ezra Furman & The Harpoons and it felt like the headlining act was going first. They had so much energy, enthusiasm, and amazing dance moves (which I am totally stealing) that their stage presence trumped the following acts. The five of them crammed on stage looked like they were about to knock each other out with every twist and leg kick. Sometimes the fiddle looks ridiculously small and delicate in the midst of a rock band, but the way Kellen Wenrich played it, it fit right in like it was incredibly natural to be jumping around and foot stomping with a traditional instrument in hand.

Halfway through their set they broke out the song “Home is Not Places,” a song about that homesickness a band can experience during the long weeks on the road. This song kicked their performance up another notch as they played with a fervor usually not seen until the closing song for most bands. They started visibly sweating and their faces turned bright red while genuinely belting out the song. From there on out it was action packed songs and the crowd continually crept closer and danced more and more.

The Apache Relay’s songs showcase a tremendous amount of talent from the well-crafted lyrics, to the perfect blending of fiddle, guitars, and keyboard. Their sound can go from delicate, quiet verses, to crashing drums and seriously shredding their guitars in an instant. It really gets your blood pumping. They closed with even more energy, playing “Can’t Wake Up,” a song off their new record, American Nomad, out next week.

Concert Afterglow: Most of the time I leave shows thinking one of two things; either “that was good” or “I can’t wait to see them again”, and this was very much the latter. I want to see them again so badly that I am seriously considering a road trip to Philly on Saturday to catch their show.

Recommendation:They really are that fantastic and I highly recommend going to see them. (New York, Philly, Pittsburgh are their next stops.)

Song:

Written by Jessica  ||  BlogTwitter

 

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Live: The Dean’s List (100Bands #51)

What’s Left: 150 Days. 49 Bands.

Band #50: The Dean’s List

When/Where: April 5th, Cat’s Cradle, Carrboro, NC
Expectations: I didn’t particularly love the latest release from The Dean’s List (The Drive In). Funny thing was, all of my friends seemed to be going to the show to specifically see these guys (over Brenton Duvall and XV). Clearly they must put on a good show.

Concert: So that whole ‘clearly they put on a good show’ thing? Total understatement. I riddle you not: Sonny Shotz is a ridiculously entertaining performer. When I got to the venue, I met up with Brenton Duvall and went backstage to meet the performers. Brenton was his usual self: fun, youthful, energetic, hyper. XV was incredibly sweet and remembered me from an interview we had done about 8 months ago. The guys from The Dean’s List, on the other hand, were a lot more standoffish and quiet. Sonny, DJ Mendoza, and drummer Tyler Thompson were all on one couch, choosing to keep to themselves a bit.

As it turned out, the majority of the crowd showed up to see The Dean’s List. They waited anxiously through two local openers and Brenton’s act for The Dean’s List to take the stage, after which most left before watching XV perform. While this was disappointing to me, I must say, they got their money’s worth with The Dean’s List. The show was incredibly upbeat, there was a full band (they recruited Berklee student Ellis Tucker to be their guitarist on the road – he is an INCREDIBLE guitar player) with a bass guitarist, drummer, and a DJ, and Sonny dominated the entire front section of the stage.

Within seconds of being on stage, Sonny took his shirt off and got really into his performance. While it’s hard to put my finger on what exactly had me so incredibly sold on his act, here are a few things. The dude puts all of his might into rapping. His dance moves are entertaining. He raps a’capella at times, which furthers the intensity. He corrals around stage, hyping up his fellow band members, pushing them around playfully. And last but not least, he appears to have an incredible time on stage. It’s fun to watch, the music is upbeat and lively, and the crowd was loving it. And let me tell you, the second “Dear Professor” came on, the crowd went absolutely wild.

Concert Afterglow: Um, wow. I could wash my clothes using Sonny Shotz’s abs. Just sayin.

Recommendation: Like I said, I wasn’t a huge fan of The Drive In, but the culture and the attitude of the music is completely different when it’s performed live. It’s convincing, it’s fun, and I’m a total fan.

Song:

“Dear Professor” – The Dean’s List

Written by Lydia

*Photography Disclaimer: my camera wasn’t working. Sorry for the poor quality; I had to use my cell phone.


Did you know that Sunset in the Rearview writers are trying to see and review 100 live shows in 365 days? Read More about 100Bands and See Our Other Reviews.

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Live: Brenton Duvall (100Bands #50)

What’s Left: 150 Days. 50 Bands.

Band #50: Brenton Duvall

When/Where: April 5th, Cat’s Cradle, Carrboro, NC
Expectations: Every song I’ve heard from Brenton Duvall in the past year has been golden. He’s also one of my favorite people I had never met in person, thanks to his permanent charisma and love of youth. Cannot wait for this show. Should be an incredible time.

Concert: Brenton Duvall was the first performer for the Animal House Tour. His set consists of a table with his laptop and his boards, and some fun little dance moves. His performance followed two local acts, so the crowd had moved toward the stage, but they still seemed to be awaiting something more. Brenton was able to get people somewhat excited with his incredible mixes and blends of fun party music, but I must say I was disappointed that people weren’t more excited about it. Brenton gets really into his set, doing fun dance moves the whole time and ferociously controlling the boards, playing with the sounds and levels in the venue. I think what will help his set a bit is if he can have enough time to bring on a rapper for a song or two, and maybe even have a full (or small) band playing at his side. I don’t think people quite understand what he does at the table, so to them it’s similar to hearing a DJ, even though, in my opinion, it’s much more than that.

Toward the end of his set, the crowd started to liven up a bit. He played “Mean Planes and Taylor Gangs,” and the Southern audience’s ears perked up when they heard the coveted Taylor Swift. Same thing happened when he played some Ellie Goulding and Skrillex mixes. People seemed to wake up and get excited. My personal hope is that Brenton can get a few more assets on his set, and people will soon realize that they’re watching a master in the making.

Concert Afterglow: Those dance moves…they’re irresistable. I wish I could bottle them up and put them in my pocket.

Recommendation: As I say time and again here on Sunset, don’t sleep on Brenton Duvall. It’s hard to, since his name is all over the blogs today. Go to a concert, and please, for the love of life, let loose. Dance a bit. Mimic Brenton’s moves, if you dare.

Song:

“Time For What You Want” (Biggie x Semisonic) – Brenton Duvall

Written by Lydia

*Photography Disclaimer: my camera wasn’t working. Sorry for the poor quality; I had to use my cell phone.


Did you know that Sunset in the Rearview writers are trying to see and review 100 live shows in 365 days? Read More about 100Bands and See Our Other Reviews.

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Live: S. Carey (100Bands Review #40)

Photo Credit: Michael Zonenashvili

What’s Left: 212 Days. 60 Bands.
Band #40: S. Carey

When/Where: December 16th, Paramount’s Black Box Theater, Boston, MA
Expectations: I was fairly certain I would fall asleep standing up.

Concert: The crowded black box theater was a nice change of pace from the regular strange acoustics of my usual haunts and the exposed brick wall was the perfect back drop for S. Carey and his three other band members. What I instantly realized was how purposeful and precise each and every note was. Every song sounded like the most meticulously crafted song. This first impression stuck with me through the rest of the short set and held me captive. Watching the band members play with such intense concentration was entertainment in its own form; they made the experience emotional. It was really such a pleasure to witness. I left with a deep appreciation for their musicianship and their music. It really put the quality of other musicians into perspective.

Highlights were when Sean Carey, someone with a performance degree in classical percussion, played a jungle drums sequence at the end of his song “Mother.” The audience ate it up. Their encore was a cover of The Notwist’s “Consequences” for which they invited Casey Dienel of White Hinterland up to sing. Her voice has a lot more too it when it isn’t distorted by echoey effects she uses in all of her music. It was a well executed and sounded delightful.

Concert Afterglow: It was easily one of the tightest performances I’ve seen all year.

Recommendation: See him; it wont be what you expect.

Song: “In The Dirt” – S. Carey

“In The Stream” – S. Carey

 

 

Written by Jessica  ||  BlogTwitter


Did you know that Sunset in the Rearview writers are trying to see and review 100 live shows in 365 days? Read More about 100Bands and See Our Other Reviews.

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Live: Archers of Loaf (100Bands Review #37)

What’s Left: 228 Days. 63 Bands.
Band #37: Archers of Loaf

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When/Where: January 15, 2011, Cat’s Cradle, Carrboro, NC
Expectations:
None. Honestly. These guys opened for The Love Language, who announced that they would have a special surprise guest, but the secret was never officially announced until Archers of Loaf stepped onto the stage.

Concert: As soon as The Cellar Seas stepped off the stage, the room started buzzing with rumors about who the “Special Surprise Guest” would be. The guy next to me in the front row turned to me and said, ‘Do you know who it’s going to be?’ I said I had heard rumors, but couldn’t be sure. He said, ‘Well, I drove 8 hours (from New Jersey) hoping that it’s Archers of Loaf, but I’m not positive that it will be. But I went to their concert in 1996 and have kept the ticket stub in my wallet with me ever since.’ Sure enough, he pulled out the ticket stub and showed it to me.

That right there was a smack in the face. I hardly knew anything about Archers of Loaf. If you’re on my boat, here’s a brief history: they formed in 1990. All four men are North Carolinians, and they had a great streak, including touring with Weezer. They broke up in 1998 after one member was diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome. Thirteen years later, on January 15th, 2011, they took the stage again, ironically on the last stage they played on, this time to open for The Love Language.

So. Here’s how it went down: the four guys took the stage while the crowd went wild. People started screaming, perhaps even shaking. The band’s movements immediately mimicked their music; all three guitarists would get low to the ground when playing the softer music, then absolutely rock out when it got louder. Bass guitarist Matt Gentling really was a sight to see. It almost felt like I was watching a real-live Guitar Hero performance. He was doing kick jumps, 360’s, pelvic thrusts…the whole shabang.

Before long, white things were being thrown toward the stage. It took me a second to realize that they were…marshmallows. I’m not sure if this is a tradition, though it seemed not to be when Gentling remarked, “For years, I used to dream about playing on marshmallows. It kinda sucks, kind of a let down.” Apparently having their feet stuck to the stage wasn’t as cool as they imagined it would be.

For the entire show, the crowd was outrageously enthusiastic. Fans were yelling the lyrics probably just as loudly as frontman Eric Bachmann himself. Despite a thirteen year hiatus, their fans hadn’t forgotten one word of any of their songs. But it wasn’t just the fans who were incredibly thankful, including one who belted, ‘You changed my fucking life!,’ the band members themselves were also very appreciative of the opportunity.

When the show ended, nobody knew if or when they would take the stage next. People were begging and pleading for an encore, though it wasn’t granted. They played an entire 12-song set, not such a small feat for a band that hasn’t played together in thirteen years! After they left the stage, fans continued to scream and cheer for them, some even diving onto the stage to grab the remaining set lists.

Concert Afterglow: I had never been to a punk rock show before. This was certainly an experience, and though I wish I could have been a bigger fan beforehand, this was absolutely awesome nonetheless. Wow. Still shocked.

Recommendation: Well, I’d like to say this is a must-see, but who knows if they’ll ever take the stage again.

Song: “Wrong” – Archers of Loaf // (mp3 courtsey of Captains Dead. This is from a live show of theirs on 1/2/98)


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Live: Gray Young (100Bands Review #34)

What’s Left: 228 Days. 66 Bands.
Band #34: Gray Young

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When/Where: January 12th, Cat’s Cradle, Carrboro, NC
Expectations: I don’t know much of local band Gray Young’s music, but I’m expecting an energetic show.

Concert: The house was fairly empty when Gray Young took the stage, as they were the first of three acts for the night. Gray Young consisted of three band members: a drummer, a bass guitarist, and the lead singer/guitarist. Their music, in my mind, can best be described as easy-listening rock music. They were a bit reminiscent of the latest songs I’ve heard by Cage The Elephant.

To be honest, I think I would rather listen to Gray Young on my speakers. The performance seemed a bit too forced. That’s hard for me to say, because I always like to see artists PERFORM rather than just stand up there and play their music, but I think Gray Young took it a step too far. The atmosphere didn’t really call for getting down on two knees while playing the guitar, though the heavy use of reverb would make it seem so. I just think it was a bit too forced and intense. Perhaps if Gray Young gathers a large crowd of hardcore fans, that will be successful, but for the time and place, it seemed off-putting.

Concert Afterglow: The music was enjoyable, but I wasn’t sad when the next band took the stage.

Recommendation: Don’t give up on Gray Young, but if you’re going to see them live, make sure they’re the headliner and the house is full.

Song: “Meridian (Picture” – Gray Young (mp3 via Mann’s World)

Written by Lydia  || TwitterFacebook

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Live: Lower Dens (100Bands Review #33)

What’s Left: 230 Days. 67 Bands.
Band #33: Lower Dens

When/Where: January 12thCat’s Cradle, Carrboro, NC

Expectations: I’ve really liked their music lately. I don’t see this being a very upbeat show, but rather a moving and emotional show.

Concert: When Lower Dens hit the stage, my immediate reaction was “you know, some bands just look cool – this is one of them. Moustaches, funky haircuts, it’s all subtle swag. Cool.” They were off to a good start. The music immediately filled the room. I was right, it wasn’t upbeat, but it was moving. I could feel the slower music seeping into my pores. Lead singer Jana Hunter is as has this uncanny ability to barely open her mouth while letting out an incredibly full sound. It reminds me a bit of the lead singer of Beach House, Victoria Legrand. Hunter’s pitch range is outstanding, and really her voice is a force that comes barreling out at you when you least expect it.

The band consisted of three electric guitars and a drumset. My main disappointment in the show was that there wasn’t much of a performance. I’m alright with the show being mainly about the music, but for the people who come to see an act, it can be a bit of a let down when the band has very little interaction with the crowd and even amongst themselves. Sure, as the show went on, the music livened up a little bit, but I still never saw a spark ignite among the band members that sent any message of them being excited to be on stage.

I’d prefer not to end on a pessimistic note, though, because I really did enjoy the show from a music perspective. Their sound has a vibe to it; they certainly got everybody in the venue nodding their heads. It’s a beautiful sound that isn’t to be missed, but I think they could definitely add some more emotion in regards to performing for a crowd.

Concert Afterglow: Emotionally, I feel their music. It’s great to hear live. Personally, though, the performance left a lot to be desired.

Recommendation: This is sort of based on personal preference. If you like seeing a lively performance, this may not be the band for you to see. BUT, if you like quality music that fills a room and can rattle your soul, they’re certainly a band to see and get to hear live.

Song: “I Get Nervous” – Lower Dens // (mp3 Courtesy of Muzzle of Bees)

Written by Lydia  || TwitterFacebook


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Live: Wesley Wolfe (100Bands Review #28)

What’s Left: 287 Days. 72 Bands.
Band #28: Wesley Wolfe

[Photo Courtesy of Elisabeth Vitale Photography]

When/Where: November 16, Sunset in the Rearview Presents: Sunset Live, Motorco Music Hall, Durham, NC

Expectations: Well obviously I think this is going to be incredible, since I booked him for this show. A little nervous, though, since his album was recorded with a full band and tonight he’s playing a solo show.

Concert: I had been waiting for this day for months. To say I was waiting patiently or calmly would be a complete lie. I was freaking out. This was my first live event with the blog, I was in charge of the booking and the marketing/promoting…basically it was on me to make this a fun night. I was petrified. But Wesley Wolfe showed up right on time for the sound check, calm and composed, looking excited to be playing for Sunset in the Rearview’s event. His act was first, and unfortunately the crowd hadn’t really gotten going yet. Many more people were still to come and the ones who were there were still hovering in the back of the (large) room by the bar.

Wesley didn’t seem to mind, though. He played his solo act incredibly, using loops and admitting when he didn’t think something was done well enough. So what did he do? He started the song over, being sure to please the crowd who came out on a rainy night to see him perform. That right there is what I call dedication from an artist. It may seem an embarrassing act in the eyes of an artist, but to fans like me, I think that’s a sign that they really want their sound to be perfect for you and they’re devoted to the crowd’s acceptance.

Wesley Wolfe was accepted very well by the crowds. His vocals were perfect; incredibly smooth, just like what was recorded on his album. His demeanor was great – he was engulfed in the mood of his music. His ability to create a full sound as a solo act was perhaps most impressive. It was just Wesley and his guitar, but he was able to record his sounds and loop them, including banging on his guitar to create drum sounds. If my eyes had been closed, I never would have guessed that it was one man standing on stage.

Concert Afterglow: I couldn’t be happier that Wesley was the first opener of the night. He has so much talent that needs to be heard by locals. What an incredible performance, despite the lack of a crowd near him on the stage.

Recommendation: You may not have the opportunity in the near future to see Wesley perform if you live outside of North Carolina. If that’s the case, buy his album. It’s incredible. If you are living in NC, go see him perform. He’s fantastic.

Song: “Sorry Only Counts The First Time” – Wesley Wolfe

Did you know that Sunset in the Rearview writers are trying to see and review 100 live shows in 365 days? Read More about 100Bands and See Our Other Reviews.

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100Bands Review #24: Brett Harris

What’s Left: 301 Days. 76 Bands.
Band #24: Brett Harris

When/Where: October 31st, Slim’s Downtown Distillery, Raleigh, NC

Expectations: I have known Brett Harris for a few years now. We have played many shows together, and he has even backed me in Luego, both live and in studio. He is an adept songster, and has pipes one can only wish for. His April 2010 high fidelity release, Man of Few Words, has garnered critical online acclaim in Paste Magazine among other publications, and rightfully so. Every song on the album is classic pop full of classic hooks. I haven’t seen Harris in months, so I look forward to see his progress.

Concert: Brett Harris opened MarkXtravaganza: a 5-band birthday party for local bassist/bartender Mark Connor and all bands he plays in. Those bands included Brett Harris, Luego, The Spring Collection, The Tomahawks, and Bright Young Things. A small group of friends and fans gathered to witness the debauchery. The show commenced with Brett leading his 5-piece band through 8 tunes, heavy on Man of Few Words material. The set pulsated with tight arrangemebts, perfect pitch singing, and lip-curling guitar solos played by self-assured, bearded dudes more interested in the 60s than today.

Keyboardist Charles “The Cleav” Cleaver, pulling triple duty that night, played around the songs with his piano fills—he didn’t get in the way of the songs, he only enhanced them. Guitarist Cameron Lee – pulling quadruple duty that night – was fresh, skilled, and tasty, even skronky. His playing style ranged from Nashville country bumpkin to poppy John Mayer to swaggering Ronnie Wood.

The best part of the set came on the second to last song, when the band unleashed a spirited cover of Warren Zevon’s “Werewolves of London.” While you may not recognize the name of the song by it’s title, I guarantee you’ve heard this song. Where Brett Harris’s set was conventional, predictable and straightforward, “Werewolves” was loose, fun and off-kilter, drawing the biggest crowd response. Brett finished the set with a soulful new take on one of his older songs. He left the stage humbly and politely, professionally and indifferently. He didn’t need to say anything more. His syrupy croon did the talking. But this gig wasn’t about proving anything, it was really just a long party.

Brett Harris lies atop a growing crop of finely tuned, incestuous, hook-laden bands taking over the local music scene. Even if his talents may go unrecognized, he carries with him a quiet determination to succeed. If he continues writing songs like his first album, he will soon be rewarded for his efforts.

Concert Afterglow: After seeing all 5 sets, Brett’s set was in fact the best, tightest, most exciting, despite its conventionalism. Who needs shock value when you have hooks like this?

Recommendation: In the least, you must check out Brett’s radio-ready debut full-lenth album in Man of Few Words. You can download it for zero dollars plus your email address at http://brettharris.bandcamp.com.

Song: “I Found Out” – Brett Harris

 

 

Written by Patrick  ||  WebsiteTwitterFacebookBandcamp

 

 

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Live: Beach House (100Bands Review #20)

What’s Left: 316 Days. 80 Bands.
Band #20: Beach House

When/Where: October 17th, Raleigh Amphitheatre, Raleigh, NC

Expectations: Tonight’s show will be my 2nd time seeing Beach House.  Stoked for some soaring dream pop.

Concert: I arrived on time at 7:33, and the show had already begun—I walked in halfway through their recent, undeniable hit, “Walk in the Park.” Lead singer Victoria Legrand’s seductive vocals hit me in the face, reminiscent of Nico. The lead guitar, drenched in reverb, echoed brilliantly about the amphitheatre. The band’s stage setup was beautiful and dark; they performed in front of an interactive backdrop of cascading stars on black skies, lighting up in conjunction with the swells in the music.

Beach House sounded huge. Most notably, the band had added a fourth member onstage (previously there were three), alternating between bass, keyboards and singing backup.  As a result, the harmonies were thicker, the ambience was heavier, more convincing, and the band rocked harder. Guitarist Alex Scally, who usually sits down throughout the show to play bass pedals with his feet, stood up for the first few songs while the new sideman played the bass. Victoria Legrand was sexy and French, and she tossed her hair wildly as she pounded on her organ.

The show was fantastic. Not much banter, not any mistakes. Not much variety. They have a drone-y, haunting sound. Their drummer gave the music some legs, which let the crowd dance in place. As Beach House evolves, gaining popularity everywhere, they employ the best tactic in pop music: always leave the audience wanting more.

Concert Afterglow: The show felt too short, and about a quarter of the crowd definitely thought that Beach House should have been headlining. As their live show widens in scope, their imaginations reach further. I look forward to their next album, and their next tour.

Recommendation: If you like sexy lead singers, and drone-y, haunting songs, look no further than Beach House.  Their live show is only getting better, so the sooner you catch them, the less of an impact it will have on your pocketbook.

Song: “Walk In The Park” -Beach House

 

Written by Patrick  ||  WebsiteTwitter | Facebook | Bandcamp

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