The Lone Bellow Delivers Their Trademark High-Energy Show
[Apologies up front – my photos of this show were not as good as the ones I took at a previous show, so I’ve shared some of those shots here.]
I was introduced to The Lone Bellow at the Newport Folk Festival this past summer, where they performed my favorite set of the three-day festival. Going to the show at The Dise (Paradise Rock Club, to us locals) on Wednesday night, I had fairly high expectations.
There was tremendous energy and anticipation in the sold-out crowd. I was prepared for an intense performance, and that’s exactly what I got!
Most people arrived early for Aoife O’Donovan, the opener who is touring with The Lone Bellow, and that is unusual in my experience. At a large portion of the shows I see, people either skip or talk through the opener. I wanted to see Aoife; I’ve seen her several times – solo as well as with her other band, Crooked Still – and was looking forward to seeing her for the first time in almost two years.
Aoife had two other musicians with her, playing bass and guitar to her vocals and guitar. Her style this night wasn’t the fairly straight-forward progressive bluegrass I’ve heard in the past, and I thoroughly enjoyed what I heard. She has a truly beautiful voice, and it truly shined this night. Her style is a bit tricky to describe, so I’d suggest buying to her debut album, Fossils!
After a short break, The Lone Bellow took the stage to thunderous applause and screeching (I’m not sure what purpose that serves other than blowing out the eardrums of the people nearby and giving the screecher a sore throat…).
They immediately launched into an incredible set that included all but one of the songs from their debut album, as well as some covers and what I presume to be a new song or two. Trading leads throughout the show, the chemistry among them is palpable. When you’re close enough to experience their eye contact, you realize the kind of chemistry they have.
In my opinion, there’s not a weak song on the album; my favorite song is ‘The One You Should’ve Let Go’, which was the last song of the set. Every song, however, had the audience singing along, clapping, hooting and hollering, and The Lone Bellow loved it.
The Lone Bellow is Zach Williams (guitarist and principal songwriter), Brian Elmquist (guitarist), Kanene Pipkin (mandolin), Jason Pipkin (bass), and Brian Griffin (drums) (sorry I wasn’t able to get any photos of Brian G.). Zach, Brian (E.) and Kanene each take the lead on songs, and all do harmonies. The way they move across the stage and around one another is so beautiful, it appears almost choreographed. But it’s completely natural.
As excellent as this show was, I think I loved the Newport show more. Mostly it was my vantage point – this night, I was on the side of the stage and could hardly see Kanene’s face. At Newport, I was front row center so I was able to experience the humility and grace in their performance, and their honestly shocked reaction to the audience’s glee. It was also, however, the joy in discovering my new favorite band without having heard any of their music prior to the festival… the feeling that we were part of the start of something special.
The Lone Bellow is a band that’s going to be hard to see in small venues in the future and probably fairly soon. Catch them while you can see them in intimate venues – you won’t be disappointed!
Posted on November 22, 2013, in concert reviews, music, Uncategorized and tagged Aoife O'Donovan, boston, Brian Elmquist, Brian Griffin, Jason Pipkin, Kanene Pipkin, Lone Bellow, music, Paradise Rock Club, Zach Williams. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.