Field Report, the Milwaukee, WI based indie-folk trio, was formed in 2011 by singer/songwriter Chris Porterfield a few years after his first band, DeYarmond Edison split up. The name, Field Report, is actually an anagram of Porterfield, Chris’s surname. The band released their newest album, Marigolden, back in October of last year, and has been playing much of that album on tour.
When Field Report took the stage, the 9:30 club was nicely filled, and ready to hear music be played. With Porterfield on acoustic-electric guitar and lead vocals, Thomas Wincek on Bass, Guitar, backing vocals and midi board, and Shane Leonard on Drums, the music began. The soulful lyrics, paired with methodic layers of slowly moving harmony gave the music an earthy, raw, almost painful feel to it. Later in the show, PHOX lead singer described Porterfield’s music as being “thoughtful” and listening to the music, one could feel the soft intensity to the lyrics. The entire venue seemed to be deep in thought, taking in all that the music of Field Report generated. With soft spoken but strong vocals, an arrangement of percussive instruments, and an ever evolving sound, Field Report satisfied the audience’s yearning for a soothing music performance.
After a seemingly endless intermission between the two sets, PHOX finally came on stage, to a thunder of applause and hoots from eager fans. The Wisconsin band of six hailing from the small town of Baraboo was in DC this past December, where they opened for Indie-Folk group The Head and The Heart. Needless to say, they had no trouble filling the venue, with long time fans, and first time listeners alike. The band had been at NPR’s studios earlier that day, doing their very own tiny desk concert, which when Monica announced at the show, the band received a plethora of applause and cheering.
After some small talk, the band went right into it, playing their rolling, warm, and dreamy music that left a gentle smile on your lips. Their tender and very organic sound had the audience swaying and dancing to every song. The band, after playing a few songs normally off the record, switched to all acoustic instruments, and, with the help of a condenser microphone gave us their own tiny desk concert on stage. After a few songs of their wonderful acoustic set, Monica stayed on stage, and sang a solo set playing only her Ukulele. After enchanting the audience with her one of a kind voice, Monica, Matteo, and Jason teamed up and sang an acapella song showing off the wonderful vocal assets of PHOX. The band returned in full to the stage, and instead of playing an encore, they simply told the audience they were cutting to the chase, and going to play all they were going to play, as it was a Thursday night and there was a lot of “drinking or sleeping to be had.” The band closed out with Espeon, dedicated to Monica’s younger sister. With crashing drums, groovy bass, wailing guitar, rolling piano, the occasional flute, and soothing vocals, PHOX rocked the house with Espeon, and called it a night.
The band is headed to Australia for a short tour, ending in a music festival in New Zealand in a few weeks; so if you’re reading this from down under, check PHOX out! All in all, between the raw, earthy sound of Field Report, to the rolling and dreamy sound of PHOX, this was a show well worth seeing.