I had a great time at the Lonely Forest show at the Vera Project on Thursday. I volunteered, but since there were plenty of volunteers (9, a little unusual for a weekday show) I ended up signing up to take out the trash. Since you don't take out the trash until the show is pretty much over, you get to watch the show and maybe help out here and there, but mostly just watch the show. That worked out well, because it was a great show.
I think all 3 bands are from Anacortes, and at least the Lonely Forest is. Anacortes is a smallish town up North about 10 miles South of Bellingham, on the mainland at the North end of Whidbey Island. It's on the salt water and has beatiful views of Padilla Bay and the San Juan Islands. Consequences of Sound has a nice post that includes the Lonely Forest doing "Turn Off This Song and Go Outside" and Anacortes is featured prominently. They also note that the Lonely Forest won the Sound Off contest at the EMP in 2006, I hadn't realized that. I enjoy the Sound Off, although I haven't made it in the last few years.
Apparently the Lonely Forest was recording the show for a live video and they encouraged the audience to record it and share their videos with the band so that they can use those in their video - a crowd sourced live video, I love it! I'll have to participate, I got nearly 50 minutes of footage of Lonely Forest at the show. I'll also have to keep an eye out for the results.
First up was the Violins, who've renamed themselves from Caulfield and His Magic Violin. Certianly easier to remember and type the new name, anyway.
They pounded out some fun catchy rock, not sure what the violin has to do with anything though. They did some interesting things with changing tempos and dynamics, here's 90 seconds from one of their early songs that does a sudden half speed change towards the end:
The audience was large for a weekday, with around 300 attending. One of the volnteers who went to high school in Anacortes said that a large contingent of kids from AHS were attending the show, and I can believe it. The audience knew most of the material and really enjoyed the acts.
The next band up was The Oregon Donor - I enjoy the silly play on words in the band title. Once again I'm not sure what it has to do with anything, but it's certainly memorable.
The guy in black in the middle with the back strat did most of the singing, although they also included fairly long instrumental bits in songs like this:
The 90 second clip just barely gets to the beginning of the vocals. I liked the interplay of rhythm between the guitars and bass, solid and interesting grooves and beats on many songs. These guys put on a good show and had me swaeting a bit - I kept bouncing up and down. Good performances do that to me.
Next the headlining Lonely Forest took the stage.
As you can probably guess from the arrangment, the lead vocalist/guitarist in the middle also played some keyboards, and he also played the floor tom you can see behind him while the drummer pounded out a beat for an intro, giving them a bass/beat/rhthm heavy sound for the intro.
They had the crowd into it, dancing (well, quietly dancing, for some reason modern hipster crowds listening to indie acts rarely seem to really get dancing all that hard - pet peeve of mine) and even singing along a bit.
Their songs tended to be longer, 5-7 minutes, and mildly complex. Time changes, dynamics both up and done, sudden and slow, coordinated pauses, different movements, not just simple verse choruse verse approach of mainstream pop - not that they're far out of the mainstream or anything, they just craft slightly more complex songs. Unfortunately that means that my recordings are mostly too long to even post onto flickr, so I only have one available. I could go through and pick a 90 second section from one of the interesting longer songs, or even several consecutive 90 second sections, but I'm much too lazy to bother. So here's a 90 second bit from the only Lonely Forest song I managed to upload to Flickr:
They definitely know their audience and it's young - they thanked us for coming out to the show late on a school night, not a work night, and the crowd ate it up. The crowd knew them as well, occasionally cheering when favorite songs started. They also had one technique down that I've noticed on occasion: they start the next song and play an intro while one band member tunes their guitar quickly, then joins in as the song gets going. I like the way that avoids long boring pauses for tuning that break the momentum of the show and distract you. Nice technique!
I enjoyed the songs and the patter, I'll definitely keep my eye out for more opportunities to see these guys, they put on a fun show!
I had to sneak out in the middle of the show to make a business call to India (the middle of the night is the beginning of the day for India) and I also had to get up early the morning after, so I ended up pretty tired today, but it was well worth it. Hopefully the Magma Fest show tonight will be rocking out hard enough to keep me awake. We'll see...