Boxelders - This is folk rock on the light side. I should say light on the rock side, as this trio shows great depth in their creation of a haunting atmosphere. There are drums, electric piano, and acoustic guitar behind the two voices. The drummer also plays some electric guitar which is more atmospheric than rocking and frankly, was not as effective as his percussion moves. These guys are from Baltimore and are playing songs from their forthcoming first album. They show a lot of maturity for being newcomers (at least as this band) and I look forward to their record, if it is anything like their live set. They have great songs an a firm grasp on pulling emotion from their lyrics through quality vocals and assured playing. This was a fine opening set.
Lanterns on the Lake - This quintet is from Newcastle and I hope they do a lot better than the Newcastle football club did against Chelsea earlier today. That was not too high a bar to clear, but this band soared over it with confidence and style. They began with ethereal folk rock with their female vocalist at the piano surrounded by bass, drums, violin, and electric guitar. The guitarist was bowing vigorously, creating two bowed instruments on each side of the stage enveloping the direct sounds with their eerie churning drones. The next song was meatier showing that this band can rock out with the best of them, yet not losing their atmospheric vocal core. The set continued with a mix of transcendent folk based songs and thoughtful folk rock cuts that all continued to work together and build the musical world of their creation. They had full understanding of how to build to crescendos and expand the drama of a song to a set. They reminded me of a folkier Jesse Sykes, and although there may be other comparisons, this band has full command of their sound. The moderately large crowd seemed to agree. They apologized for looking so haggard as they are at the very end of a large tour, but no one agreed with them on that point and they certainly didn't show it in their music. I am sure they will be thrilled to get back home, hopefully happy that for their efforts they have certainly expanded their fan base for their excellent music.
Quote of the Night: On the sidewalk walking to the club... "Do you like it when people pretend that there is not a party going on?"