Inadequate Words

SHOW #8 Pearl and the Beard with The Foot and Shaky Molars at the Hi-Dive

I almost didn’t go to this show. Despite some disappointment with Mass Effect 3 it was still calling to me saying “Play me Warren! You’ll see a show on Saturday! Play me!” I’m glad that I didn’t listen because it would have been a tragedy to miss what I saw last night.

I’ll begin at the beginning here, though before I’m done things are going to end up getting a bit shuffled up. There are just reasons for the shuffling. Reasons you will see and hopefully hear before I’m done blathering at you. But again, we’re starting at the beginning.

Shaky Molars

I don't know why the cellist was wearing a mask. Maybe because hipster?

Things started out not so great with The Shaky Molars performing. This band is severely hindered by unoriginal and uninspired vocals. Their lead singer wavered between mumbly noncommittal tones and screaming insanity. Sometimes within the space of a few lines and often more than once per song. It didn’t feel to me like he wanted to be up there or like he cared at all. Then about halfway through the show he asked the audience if we were sleepy. Really? I mean Really? We aren’t here for you, you’re the first of three bands and if you weren’t playing no one here would notice. I understand it’s probably more fun to play in front of an engaged crowd but in this situation it’s your job to win us over with your music. We have no obligation to worship you just because you’re on a stage mumblesinging about your angst.

Singer aside the rest of the band was actually pretty decent, the guitar work was solid and the girl on bass was rocking out. Sadly the cellist they had on stage with them seemed really out of place. She played a few intros to songs that were very good but once they songs got started she was completely washed out by everything else on stage. She just didn’t fit in with what they were doing. I don’t have much more to say so I’ll just post a song.

The song I’m posting below is what I like to call a signpost song. I hate signpost songs. The band is from Denver and I don’t doubt that the song was written with Denver in mind but it’s written in such a way that it can be modified to pander to crowds anywhere. Replace Denver with Boulder or Tuscon or Dallas and the crowds cheer because you said the place that they are! The ‘South Broadway’ line in the song makes this painfully apparent.

The Foot

I felt sorry for The Foot after this show. They were the headliner when I got there but they weren’t the headliner listed on the Hi-Dive’s webpage. Sometime between the time that the venue printed up the schedule for the night, which still listed Pearl and the Beard as the headlining band, and the start of the actual show The Foot became the headliner and Pearl and the Beard the second opener. But everyone who was there was there for Pearl and the Beard, this was painfully obvious because after Pearl and the Beard was done playing about eighty percent of the crowd cleared out. Though, to be honest, after the performance Pearl and the Beard put on I don’t think anyone could have adequately followed them.

The foot aren’t unpopular by any means either. They played a show at The Bluebird, a much larger venue, just last week that drew a large crowd and had this been promoted at all for them they probably would have brought some folks in. The quality of their music justifies that. They’re fairly straightforward rock with a touch of funk and soul that likely stems from their bass player being their lead singer.

To their credit, despite the fact that most of the crowd left, they still put on a fun show. They were rocking, and bantering and having a good time and it was a real treat for those of us that stayed. Their lead singer is very talented and they do a lot of self layering/harmonization using looping which I always find entertaining. It was really too bad that the show ended up the way that it did because if they had opened for Pearl and the Beard I think a lot of people would have liked what they heard. I’ll definitely give them another shot as I think it would be fun to see them with a crowd that was there to see them and into what they were doing.

It’s kind of hard to find actual video of them playing live so, here is a video that’s really just audio with pictures! It’s still live though.

Pearl and the Beard

Sepia! Because my phone camera is terrible.

I first heard about Pearl and the Beard over on Digital Mumbles and when I saw that they were coming to town I jumped at the chance to see them. They didn’t close the show but I’m putting them last because they were why I was there and they completely owned the room. I’ve never heard the Hi-Dive so quiet.

I titled this post inadequate words because words simply won’t do. When they finished their set all I could think was there simply aren’t words to describe what just transpired here. Transcendent, incredible, amazing, stupendous, all great words, all inadequate.

I left the show with a copy of their Black Vessel EP because I wanted to give them more money. They deserved more than the $10 price of admission I’d paid. If I’d had more than $6 on me I would have spent it all on their merchandise. They were just that good.

This was Pearl and the Beard’s first ever trip to Denver and I really, really hope that it won’t be their last. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen anything quite like them. They were more of a musical conglomeration than a band. There was no lead singer, no front man, no ego. There was just music, pure, beautiful music. It’s rare to find a band that has just one great singer in it, to find one with three is simply incredible. Everything they played was great but then near the end of their set someone near the back of the crowd requested a song which led to one of the best concert moments I’ve ever experienced. They looked at each other and one of them said, “Do you want to go off?” Which I assumed simply meant ‘Do you want to go off the set list’ instead they came off the stage. Walked right into the middle of the crowd and played this with us circled around them:

I don’t think I’ll ever forget that experience. If I wasn’t already a fan for life that moment and that performance made me one. These are people that love music, these are people that love what they do and what they create and I honestly felt that they loved the people who had gathered to listen to them too. I implore you, see them. Their studio stuff is great but this is music better experienced live. So see them, support them, tell your friends about them. People need to know that this is what music is supposed to be. I’m leaving you with more of them because there can never be enough. Watch, listen, enjoy:


3 comments on “Inadequate Words

  1. I agree with some of what you said regarding Molars’ performance. I wouldn’t have been interested in watching that set. My vocals were pretty bad-partially because I was sick and partially because I was bored. You’re right–I didn’t want to be performing at that moment. I disagree with your idea that it’s my job to win anyone over. My job is to make genuine performances and part of that is not putting on a smile and telling the audience they are a fantastic crowd when they are not.

    Our cellist was wearing a mask because she had pink eye.

    I think the Denver song is pretty cheesy. I didn’t write it to pander to crowds though. I wrote it because I love Denver and Denver music. We have been taking it out of our set and it won’t be on our record. Never thought about changing the city to be other cities. Maybe I’ll try that 😉

    I think it is cool that you recognize that an audience has “no obligation to worship” an act just because they are on stage. Thanks for the critical review. Writing music is the most important thing in the world to me so I am going to do what I can to make music that is better and more inspired. It’s a process and I am sure I will fuck up many more times along the way but I am going to put as much effort as I can into it.

    • Chuck, thanks for your comment. I try not to disparage people making music because, well, I love music and I know it’s hard to create. It’s tough putting yourself out there like that. So hopefully what I said didn’t come across as disparaging.

      You have a point about your job being the creation of genuine performances. Though I do think that in creating genuine performances you’ll win crowds over. Music has to be from the heart of it loses a lot. Though that has to be hard to pull off every time you’re on stage.

      I’ll be seeing a lot of shows around town this year so maybe I’ll see you guys again.

  2. […] #1 Pearl and the Beard with The Foot and Shaky Molars at The Hi-Dive on 3/8/12 […]

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