Thanks to last week's cold-that-wouldn't-die -- I'm feeling so much better this week, in case you care -- I missed out on a ton of shows I wanted to check out. But thankfully, new STLog correspondent Mike Cracchiolo (he of the Bureau) attended some of these gigs -- and graciously decided to contribute some observations on what he saw. In his own words:
Thursday night I decided to combat scene apathy by going above and beyond the call of duty: I would see not one but three local bands, at three separate venues. A couple of phone calls confirmed that I could in fact catch all three if I was diligent.
I began my night at Cicero's to scope out the Daybreak Boys with their new drummer, Jason Hall, who's also in Red Water Revival. Hall hits harder than the departed Kevin Bowers, which is exactly what the Daybreak Boys' songs needed. Frontman Ryan Sears sounded like he was coming off a) the flu or b) a solid week of chain smoking, but the end result was still a solid, propulsive performance. Grade: B-
Seeing Gentleman Auction House at Off Broadway did wonders for my perception of the band. The mix was good, the performance was tight, and they were clearly having fun, as the camaraderie between the seven members extended to the audience from the very start of the set. Something about the intimacy of the venue, the acoustics of the room, and the band's obvious fondness for the place took it from an overdone circus act to the real deal. (The several months of shows GAH played since I last saw them probably didn't hurt either.) But whatever the reason, instead of asking, "What's the big deal?" I already knew the answer: I wasn't watching GAH play to 30-plus people so much as I was seeing into a future where these guys are huge on the indie circuit. Grade: A-
Due to a few wrong turns on the way to the next club, I expected I'd only see about twenty minutes of Ghost in Light's set. Fortunately for me it was the kind of night where it was okay for the band to run late. As befit a Thursday night at the Way Out Club, the show was loose, even sloppy; the sound system was clearly less committed to the show than the crowd; and glaring mistakes were made by both guitarists. But despite all that, it only took one song to realize that an even more profound change than I expected has happened to these guys. Take away one member (singer Jason House) and suddenly the impact of every remaining part is doubled. Shae Moseley's drums were huge and authoritative, the inventiveness of Elshua Evans's bass playing wasn't obscured by ambient noise and Chandler Evans's genius guitar arrangments found the perfect spots in between and around them. (And who knew the guy could sing?) It was like watching the Life and Times cover TV on the Radio: stately, cerebral, and aggressive all at once. Grade: A