Okay so the thousand word rule is going right out the window here because I’ve only got four bands left to write about and I feel like I may hit a thousand words right around the end of the third band which would leave one post for just one band and that doesn’t work for me with splitting the festival up into separate ‘concerts’ so. This will be the third and final installment of my adventures at the Westword Music Showcase.
These guys were really good, they had great vocals and complex interestingly layered music. They had a very laid back vibe to their songs and it was incredibly great music to just sit back and chill to. Which was kind of a bad thing given the 100 degree weather and the non air conditioned theater. In the end I found myself very heavy eyed while they were performing but I don’t want that to come across as a bad thing. In a way it was sort of a good thing because I feel like that sort of laid back sound is what they are going for and they pull it off very well. It was just that, that vibe mixed with the ridiculous heat flipped my body into sleep mode. Now, I never fully fell asleep but I was definitely nodding off and I felt kind of bad about it. Really their sound would work great on a warm summer evening where you could just relax in the temperate air and let the music wash over you as you hold hands with your sweetheart or read a book or take a nice long drive. It’s music to relax by and that can be a very beautiful thing.
I originally hadn’t planned to see the Fairchildren. I had planned to leave the venue they were playing at to catch Lizzie Huffman playing about a block away but the hear combined with the small size of the venue made me worried that I might not be able to get back in there for Danielle Ate the Sandwich who I really wanted to see. However those fears ended up being completely unfounded as the place never really filled up again like it had for a. Tom Collins. Still I’m glad that I stayed because I ended up really liking the Fairchildren. The vocals were soulful and sweeping and they meshed well with the simple yet beautiful music. I really liked the songs where the lead singer played the upright bass but all of the songs were good. I also especially liked a song they played where their guitar player put down his guitar and joined the keyboardist and they played together. It created a very unique sound and paired with the singer’s vocals it really just worked. I seriously liked these guys a ton and I would highly recommend you check them out at some point.
So these guys were the first act I saw and here they are listed second to last because they just blew me away. They were so damn incredible and so in line with what I like in music that I couldn’t help but love every second. They presented simple acoustic fare in the alt-country vane that was lively energetic and outstanding. I really only went to see them at all because of their name. I just couldn’t imagine not going to see a band that calls themselves the (insert anything here) Parlor Pickers. And damn, damn, damn, they were just so good. The vocals were rich and powerful and their songs rocking and energetic. It was everything I could have hoped for from a band with that name. Placing them here means that they are the first runner up but it was so close and really I kind of want to call them co-champions of the Showcase because they were that good and if I had seen pretty much literally anyone other than Danielle Ate the Sandwich they would have taken it hands down, as it is all I can really say is that they are great and that you should goo and see them and probably also buy their CD so that they can continue to make really great music.
So, I have something to tell you guys. What I’m about to say here may both shock and appall you. The ukelele is a legitimate instrument which can be used to play well written heartfelt songs. I know, I know, this may come as a shock as the internet has led us all to believe that the ukelele is simply an instrument of comedy that is best used to make cutesy covers of popular songs. Well you can stow those notions right now because Danielle Ate the Sandwich puts them all to bed (kind of). You see this duo of upright bass and a ukelele plays beautiful songs about serious things and they somehow pull it off despite the presence of the ukelele. This is possible because Danielle has an amazing voice that carries weight that perhaps her instrument cannot. She writes interesting and complex songs about social issues and delivers them unblinkingly and it’s a wonderful and beautiful thing.
Of course none of that is to say that she doesn’t also have a sense of humor, I think anyone fronting a ukelele based band has to have a sense of humor, and hers is great. This allowed for the best possible show. Sweet and moving at times, wry and sardonic at others. It was just a wonderful combination that made for a captivating performance unlike just about any I have ever seen. If you like beautiful songs and laughter then you owe it to yourself to give these guys a listen. Just look past the ukelele to the music and personalities behind it and I think you’ll find you’ll like what you see. I love that these guys are local because it means I’ll get to see them again and hopefully soon. I’d love to see what they can do with a full set. You should probably do yourself a favor and check them out as well.
It’s fitting that they spent part of the show dressed as royalty (their new album is called Like a King) because I am crowing them king and queen of the Westword Music Showcase.
Two songs in closing:
Seriously, she/they are just so damn good: