What An Exciting Performance By Three Up-and-Coming Americana Bands!
The Oh Hellos delivered my favorite set of the 2014 Newport Folk Festival and I have been eagerly anticipating a Boston show since then. My patience was rewarded by this sold-out evening of incredible Americana music.
The passion that this band has is seemingly boundless. They have not only passion but they are humble, acting almost surprised at the reaction the audience had to them.
They describe their music as eclectic folk rock which fits, as would Americana. Using a mix of acoustic and electric instruments, the musicians almost literally fly back and forth across the stage. I found myself wondering how they can move as they do and still play the correct notes.
On this tour, the band that was founded by brother and sister Maggie and Tyler Heath has seven other members (at Newport, there were fourteen as I recall). Maggie is one of the lead vocalist while Tyler plays acoustic guitar and is the other lead vocalist.
The other members of the band are Joshua Heinlein (guitar), Reagan Smith (banjo), Joseph Chance (percussion/accordion), Drew Griffith (bass), Nathanael Smith (guitar), Matthew Moore-Hagerman (viola), and Austin Norman (drums).
They are touring in support of their recent release, Dear Wormwood, which is a stunning album. It has a slightly darker feel than their previous releases but it is every bit as good.
Their set list included songs from both this and their previous releases (an album and an EP; they also have an album of holiday songs), and flowed well. They played some ballads, but most of the songs were high-energy tunes that got the crowd singing, swaying, and dancing.
They are such talented musicians who obviously pour their hearts into their shows and create palpable chemistry with their fans. There were many in the audience who had not seen them perform live and I hope they were as blown away as I was the first time I saw them.
The show opened with Cereus Bright, a quartet playing modern folk music. Tyler explained they are named after a desert flower that blooms at night, as they do!
Tyler Anthony on guitar and lead vocals, Evan Ford on mandolin, Matt Nelson on bass, Jake Edward Smith on guitar, and Luke Bowers on percussion comprise the band.
Even though there was some talking occurring during their set, I felt that the audience connected with them. I enjoyed their short set quite a bit.
Next up was Family and Friends who asked for a moment of silence for the Paris terror attacks (which I did not know happened until shortly before the doors opened for the show). The club became silent and it was a powerful moment that showed the power music has.
This band had one of the most interesting stage sets I have seen. There were two drum kits, set facing each other with the drummers’ sides to the room. As soon as they started playing, I understood why. They tossed their drum sticks to each other a couple of times during their set; during the last song, they climbed over each other and the drums (think Pilobolus dance) to end up on the other drum kit.
Family and Friends are Mike MacDonald (vocals), Casey Harper (vocals), Meredith Law (keyboards), JP McKenzie (electric guitar), Tuna Fortuna (bass), Alejando Rios (drums), and Ryan Houchins (drums).
Their set ended too quickly for my taste because I was enthralled watching them play.
At the end of the show, all of the musicians were on stage for one of the best encores I have ever seen! Incredible energy and passion poured from the stage and enveloped the audience in a state of near rapture!
The audience was one of the best I have experienced at this venue. People were mostly quiet and respectful of the bands, and truly appreciated the show. In addition, the sound and lights were better than at most shows there and that enhanced my enjoyment.
I will see all of these bands on future trips through the Boston area, and hope to see them at one (or more) of the festivals I attend next year!
Thanks to The Oh Hellos for the ticket; all opinions are my own.
Posted on November 22, 2015, in concert photos, concert reviews, music, Uncategorized and tagged Americana music, boston, Cereus Bright, concert photos, concert review, Family and Friends, Maggie Heath, modern folk music, music, Paradise Rock Club, The Oh Hellos, Tyler Heath. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.