When most people meet me they typically wouldn’t think that I actually have an appreciation for Country music to any extent, let alone listen to any of it, but I do thoroughly enjoy various Country-based artists and acts. Now, be it that I enjoy Country every now and then, I have yet to actually go to a Country show, so when I was asked to cover The Deadfields it was something that intrigued because of that fact. Of course, I immediately followed this with checking them out and was quite pleased by what I found, leaving the thought of doing this even more enticing.
Another factor about this show for me was that I had yet to see anything or even just go to Smith’s Olde Bar and I’m always up for checking out new venues, so it was an added bonus to the evening. I can say that with my first experience at Smith’s Olde Bar, I found it to be very cool, as far as the place itself goes. Downstairs you find nice bar setup with a pool and game room accompanying and a very friendly and helpful staff. What I was specifically interested in though was the upstairs where the actual stage is located, and I will surely state it as unique because it isn’t your typical “bar stage” due to it being rounded off instead of going from wall to wall and it is visually restricted with a curtain. Now the curtain gives it an almost classic Jazz-like feel, which in my opinion is pretty cool because when the artist starts it’s kind of like having a present unwrapped and that makes the start of the show much more anticipating. Overall I think that this made for a great setting for this show being that it was essentially a showcase for locals.
Before I get started on the acts, I would like to state that I am going to do it out-of-order and I am doing this not because we were invited to cover this by the guys in The Deadfields, which I am very glad they did. I am doing it because for me they really shined the brightest, so I feel like they deserve the last word.
EB Reece was up first, and I wasn’t sure what to expect from her. She started out with a cover of Katey Perry that the crowd seemed to react well to and she did with some real heart. She followed with some originals that showed a talent for melody and ended with what she stated to be one of her favorite hymns, from what I noticed the hymn was not named and hymns are something that lay outside of my territory so I cannot tell you which it was. If there is one thing that bothered me about her it is that she was reserved on stage, which I can understand because I have been there at one point, but I could tell that if she just opened up and let it flow she could really shine up there and truly prove herself.
The end of the night was rounded out by Corey Crowder, a local Country star that has been doing well on the Country circuit as of lately. Corey filled the night with a two-hour long set pumped with originals and covers, like songs from Tom Petty and John Mayer, scattered throughout. As the set went on Corey carried the crowd with warm-hearted stage banter and a general welcoming attitude. As far as his music goes though it really is nothing too different from what’s currently popular in the Country realm, so seeing him live I can’t honestly recommend to someone who does not particularly like the modern-day scene, but if you do then it can certainly be a treat. The one thing that really caught my attention during the whole performance though was the keyboardist he had playing with him, his ability and style really harkened back to the old Blues and Soul from decades back with a flawless flow and intricate structure packed with emotion.
Now the reason I was there on this night was because The Deadfields personally contacted The Backstage Beat and asked us to cover their show for them, and like I said earlier I’m glad that they did because it allowed to find a band that is really holding a new torch that is picked up from artists from the past. The guys in The Deadfields have something going on for them that is a breath of fresh air in a somewhat stale environment with a sound that is clearly inspired from Americana to Country-Rock, but at the same time hard to actually pin point. One of the biggest factors in this is singer Geoff Reid’s vocals, which although fits into the Americana and Country style carry an essence of Alternative within them as well and that makes for something new and different. As far as the actual live performance goes they have a strong energy that only builds upon the music and shows just how that really love and enjoy what they do, and that provides the crowd with a very upbeat, fun-loving atmosphere. They tore through a set packed with originals only such as the opener Carolina Backroad to Blood On My Guitar Strings and Gasoline, but I feel like that was a good thing for them to do because it forced them to really let themselves out there and really have their hearts into the show. Once they reached the end of their set list, instead of just saying their goodnights, they went acoustic and wander off the stage and through the audience to provide us with a really intimate performance that really brought a connection through the whole room. With the conclusion of their performance I took it upon myself to wander the crowd and gather opinions of it’s occupants about The Deadfields, what I gathered was that most of the attendees layed upon the same feelings I had for the band, with a couple of exceptions including a complaint that they did not do any covers and a few people feeling luke warm about them. But, in general, the reception they received was pretty positive for an up and coming group that is fairly unknown.
After the end of the show in its entirety I got the chance to step back with the members of The Deadfields and get their opinion on how the show went. The consensus from the band seemed to be a feeling that they did well, but that the main goal they have when going out on stage anytime is just to have fun and hope that is carried over to the crowd and I told them that I felt that was definitely pulled off on that Saturday night. I also told them that to me their sound is something very cool and fresh and their response was that they didn’t go into it trying to capture a particular sound when they formed, but that they just wanted to play whatever flowed out as long as they always had fun and enjoyed what they were doing. All I can say is they need to just stick to what they’ve been doing because it has created a sound that is honest, fun and for once unique.
The Deadfields have their debut album dropping in a few weeks and shows scattered all through Georgia, so you better get out and check them out while you have the chance.
Jonah Parzen-Johnson at Lilypad
Jonah Parzen-Johnson has an innate ability to make the baritone sax sound like bagpipes, and maybe that’s why I cried.
Mostly I cried because Jonah tells radiant stories with his saxophone and analog synth, working the brass and pedals to recreate the framework which surrounds his album Remember When Things Were Better Tomorrow: Parzen-Johnson wanted to make “something of myself that’s for everybody else.”
Jonah opened his set with “Stay There, I’ll Come to You,” showcasing the harmony between synth and sax right off the bat. With haunting lilts, the two combined into a ribbon of melody, pulsating inside the ear as well as the heart. Much like the song’s title, Jonah was the one approaching the audience as an experimental troubadour of tête-à-tête.
The back stories and thoughts behind each song tied in so well with the raw, almost throaty sax, developing such strong, emotional resonance with the musical layers. The skeleton shook.
Speedy Ortiz “riiiiise above and gliiiiiide away” at The Sinclair
The Sinclair was a packed house Wednesday night for the Speedy Ortiz CD release party; as a hometown gig for the Northampton, MA-based band, kinetic warmth buzzed through friends and fans alike as Sadie Dupuis and crew played their freshly-release Foil Deer track-by-track.
What’s a party without some guests, though? That’s where Krill and Mitski come in.
Krill kicked off the night with some tracks from A Distant Fist Unclenching, other goods from Lucky Leaves. Lead singer/bassist Jonah Furman brought to mind early (read: good) Billy Corgan, which I’m not sure he will appreciate. But I think he’ll appreciate this: I couldn’t stop laughing because then I kept thinking about Marilyn Manson telling Billy Corgan that he looked like Charlie Brown.
Opening with “Theme from Krill,” the Boston trio has a knack for rhythm and melody that burrows into your brain. The dreamy bleakness of “Purity of Heart.” The discordant garage rock and hiccupping guitar and warbly Scooter-ness of “Foot.” Krill’s sound is a good, comfy noise that keeps you wiggling and all that good stuff. Be sure to catch the band at Boston Calling.
Years & Years at Royale Boston
During winter storm Juno, UK electro pop group Years & Years were forced to cancel the first show of their two-night stint in New York City back in January. After the snow finally melted, they made the rounds again this past March, playing several shows in California, South by Southwest before finally landing in Boston.
Due to popular demand, the show was moved from The Sinclair to the Royale in downtown’s Theater District.
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