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Voices in Unison

SHOW# 10: Andrew Jackson Jihad with Laura Stevenson and the Cans, Roar, and Arliss Nancy at the Marquis Theater on 3/22/12


This post was going to be all about Laura Stevenson and the Cans and how incredible they are and how much I love them. All of that still holds true but then Andrew Jackson Jihad happened, and they happened with a vengeance.

There were four bands last night though so I’m just going to jump right into it.

Arliss Nancy

Arliss Nancy is a local act out of Ft. Collins and I really liked them. They are billed as a punk band, as most of the bands last night probably would be, but they didn’t strike me as a pure punk outfit. I’d probably classify them as more Pop-Punk. That isn’t a knock on them at all though because I really liked what they were doing. Their songs were well composed and catchy and they had a lot of passion for their music that came across very well. The biggest downside of their set was that the sound was muddled and as a result their vocals were muddy so you could hear the tone but not always the words. That’s a shame because I am very much a lyrical music listener but I still really liked their set.

Enjoy this song of theirs called Abacus:


Roar was weird, or at least their act was. Between each of their songs they played an audio clip from different movies but the clips were too long. A song would end and the band would mill around the stage for a minute or two while an audio clip from Misery played for some reason. I felt like this really detracted from the show because a lot of the crowd would drop out and just start talking during the audio clips. Once the music started up again the band was tasked with winning the people over again. Which was a shame because the misc that they did play was good, as an audience member I felt a little short changed because those audio clips take away valuable set time.

They skewed more rock than punk and some of what they did had a Killer’sesque feel to it. It was rock but it had this sweeping and grandiose quality to it. The vocal mix still wasn’t that great for them either but their singer had a lot of hear and really threw himself into the songs.

Unfortunately, due to their common word band name I found it difficult to find any videos of these guys performing live so I’m just going to embed their Bandcamp album below:

Laura Stevenson and The Cans

I love, love, love, love this band. They are the reason I was at this show in the first place. They are, in a word, incredible. Laura Stevenson’s voice is one of a kind. Powerful and pretty all at once she owns every song she sings and as amazing as her voice is in their studio stuff it’s ten times more impressive live because you can hardly believe that she actually sounds that good. Maybe it’s the cynicism brought on by the mass produced studio tweaked main stream bands out there but hearing someone with that much raw musical talent in person is still always amazing to me.

Their music is essentially folk music with some punk sensibilities, and possibly a little pop too. Laura has punk roots as the keyboardist for Bomb The Music Industry but her voice and her songwriting lends itself much more to folk music. She’s also insanely adorable when she rambles on between songs. This is another one of those bands that I really can’t say enough good things about. You should listen to them, in fact you should be listening to them right now. Are you? You’re not? After all that great stuff I wrote about them up there. Seriously? Man, here let me give you a hand:

Andrew Jackson Jihad

Before last night I’d only ever been to one punk show. That was Peelander-Z which is a Japanese punk band that acts like they are the Power Rangers. That show was a lot of fun but in the end I’d say that I left not fully understanding punk music. I’d never really have said that I don’t like punk music just that I didn’t get the fervent love that people have for it, the devotion to it. It just didn’t make sense to me. At least it didn’t until Andrew Jackson Jihad took to the stage. From the first note of the first song what I witnessed was raw, and pure, and powerful. It was the human experience bottled and then thrown against a wall. It was like something I’d never experienced in a live show. And it wasn’t just the band, though they really were great, it was the crowd undulating like crazy, hoping like mad, and screaming the lyrics at the top of their lungs. There was so much passion and joy and unbridled enthusiasm in that room that I could hardly believe my eyes or my ears. All at once I understood what punk music is and why people love it so much. It’s the experience, the raw emotion, the lyrics written to lay the soul bare. It was really beautiful to watch and experience that. I didn’t go so far as to mosh, because that’s just not my thing, but for the first time ever I understood the mosh pit. It made sense.

All of this may be because Andrew Jackson Jihad is a punk band that falls in line with music I like. Which is to say stripped bare acoustic fare. They are a duo consisting of an acoustic guitar and an upright bass and that’s it. They are folk, they are punk, they are incredible. The stripped down band made for a more pure, more natural musical experience. One that I really enjoyed. I knew nothing of them going in and as I type this I still haven’t heard any of their studio stuff. I imagine it’s good, but I can’t imagine it’s as good as seeing them live, experiencing them live, in a room full of people who absolutely love them.

The second half of their set they were joined on stage by a few members of Roar and entered into a more traditional punk sound that wasn’t bad by any means but that didn’t quite speak to me as much as the acoustic stuff. Still it was good, they were good. If you like punk music at all you should go see these guys as soon as you possibly can. Even if you don’t you should still see them. They will win you over, because they are pure and amazing. They are another prime example of what music is supposed to be. Raw, powerful, amazing.

This is the song they opened the show with. No video can really do justice to the show I saw last night but this one comes pretty damn close:


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