The most glorious thing about being a music-crazed college student is the moment when you discover that that quiet kid in your Play Analysis class is in a band. Meet Harris Face and the Restoration. They are a steel guitar-driven, harmonica-sprinkled folk rock band from Washington, D.C. Their debut 6-track EP, Hopeful Paranoia will be released this summer. Formed in 2012 around the writing of singer-songwriter Harris Face, they have featured in local venues Rock & Roll Hotel, Iota, and Wonderland Ballroom, and in New York at Sidewalk Cafe. As a solo artist, Harris has frequently toured the Northeast and Midwest, played the Kingman Island Bluegrass & Folk Festival, and opened for the Vespers and Brothers Lazaroff. Continue reading “Harris Face and the Restoration – "The Squall" (Single)”
On a warm sunny tuesday night, I couldn’t decide where to get dinner. So, on a whim of habit, I decided to go to a neighbourhood bar for dinner and a decent pint. This neighborhood bar was the Bier Baron on 22nd and P. Before you enter the Bier Baron, it’s a rule for them to check your IDs, regardless if you’re ninety or twenty-one. The guy gave me back my ID and said, “Both the upstairs and downstairs [bars] are open, the upstairs have this folk act from Canada and a better tap selection.” Naturally, as a fellow Canadian, I decided to see what this act is. I was a bit wary at first. You never know what could happen at the Bier Baron in terms of events; it ranges from the oddest burlesque show you’ve ever seen to a decent musical act. And on that summery day, it was definitely an event of the latter variety.
To say Old Man Luedecke isn’t sweet is to say that cupcakes are not sweet, either. He is a charming man which is obvious through the stories he tells before every song. There were tales of Matt Groening buying his music (thanks to the magic of Paypal), and A&W drunken drive-thru adventures. I had not heard of Old Man Luedecke before but by the third song, I was texting friends to inform them that I was witnessing some great folk music. The show was not seen by more than eighteen or nineteen people (including the three members of the Bier Baron staff), which made me sad. It made me sad to see such a talented musical act not gain more attention. I felt like people were missing out on something lovely. His banjo skills were amazing and his partner Joel’s mandolin sounded quite nice as well. Between songs, Old Man Luedecke would sneeze and/or cough and it was evident that he was battling a cold. Nevertheless, he put up a brave front, and played quite well. During the first of two encores, there was a request for a certain song. They started playing the request, but because it wasn’t a song they played regularly, there were a few false starts. It just showed what Old Man Luedeke’s act was about: every song felt honest and true as if he was singing to a group of close friends. I think by the end of the concert and the two encores that followed, I felt like I was his friend as well. Continue reading “A Conversation with Old Man Luedecke at the Bier Baron, April 9th 2013”
I made my way to the Rock and Roll Hotel last Thursday to see Savoir Adore and ON AN ON perform. After a harrowing taxi ride that felled a bicyclist in rush hour traffic, I didn’t exactly feel up for the promise of a mellow and ethereal indie pop concert, but both bands brought out a raw energy that was simply infectious. With their genre-transcending music and personable stage presences, Savoir Adore and ON AN ON gave truly intimate performances at the venue.
Savoir Adore opened the concert, walking onto the stage in all white outfits. As the lights switched and they were swathed in a soft blue glow, the all white outfits made much more sense. Following in the line of their fantasy-like music, the changing colored lights clouded them in a haze that lent itself to the mood of their set. Starting off with “Garden”, Savoir Adore immediately captured the attention of the people milling around the entrance of the venue, drawing people closer to the stage. Although the sound balance at the beginning made the drums sound almost painfully harsh, as the venue filled up and there was less empty space, the drum reverberated less. As they segued into “Loveliest Creature,” the mellow ambiance gave way to a much more upbeat mood that was followed by their live rendition of a new unreleased track to appear on their upcoming rerelease of Our Nature. The crowd response was overwhelmingly positive to the new music and created an infectious good feeling with people finally starting to let loose and dance. Even in the face of technical difficulties before “Sea of Gold,” Paul and Deidre joked about it and brushed the complication aside. Savoir Adore’s “Bodies” really stood out in their set, showcasing Deidre’s full and breathy singing voice which juxtaposed nicely against Paul’s. Ending with their single “Dreamers”, they left the stage to a great response from the crowd, with people echoing positive sentiments about the band.
Continue reading “Concert Review: ON AN ON & Savoir Adore”
ON AN ON’s debut album Give In is 45 minutes full of catchy, polished pop melodies and melancholy anthems. Give In describes exactly what this indie-pop trio refuses to do. After three of the six members had left indie-rock group Scattered Trees, the remaining three regrouped and reinvented themselves along with a new and unique sound as ON AN ON. As debut albums go, Give In is a strong effort and it hints at what the band could become with some honing.
With their song “Ghosts,” ON AN ON establishes a strong emotional atmosphere for the rest of the album. Layering the raspy sounds of percussion and a buzzy guitar over the main pop melody, they create a strong feeling of longing. The full percussion creates a subtly strong beat behind the song that enhances the melody’s buildup. “Every Song in the World” captures the desire to escape, as the lyrics comment on how every song is reminiscent of someone who was part of the songwriter’s painful memories. Although the lyrics are simple and repeat for the most part, they create a hint of insistence and urgency behind the emotion. With “American Dream,” the band takes a more mellow approach by creating a lullaby, as Eisland reassuringly croons “you’re gonna be a star.” “Cops” bluntly questions authority and the sense of security authority gives us—a controversial topic expressed in the most haunting song of the album. “I Wanted to Say More” is a beautiful, hazy piece to end the album that draws out its melody until the last possible second, creating a sweet tension before its final resolution.
Continue reading “ON AN ON Album Review: Give In”