Friday, May 27, 2011

Miss Lana Rebel and the Broken Promises - King's, Raleigh, 5/26/11

This show show was an unexpected pleasure. It was a quiet night in downtown Raleigh, and I just went out to support the Red Cross tornado benefit at the Pour House, being a multiple Cat 3 hurricane survivor myself. But after a few covers from the GnR tribute band Appetite for Destruction, which was fun (but I've never been a big GnR fan), my usual craving for original music just became too much to bear.

So I had read about this country/western style act playing at King's, and thought I'd head down the street to check it out. I missed the first couple of acts, but caught Nightingale News and the headliner, Miss Lana Rebel and the Broken Promises. Nightingale News is the name of Broken Promises member Coy Campbell King's solo act (just found out he's only sitting in for a bit on this tour). His material was pretty somber, but thoughtful. His sound filled out nicely when Lana and other "Promise" Kevin Mayfield sat in, the latter on singing saw (he and Mr. King pictured here).
It made for a fitting opener to Miss Lana Rebel's act, in which King switched to standup bass and Mayfield went to guitar. The set-up wasn't what I had expected, thinking there would be drums, more swing, etc (but really, I hadn't heard of these guys, and only had the Independent's write-up to go on). So the arrangement made for a quieter version of a down-home honky-tonk act, which knocked my socks off. Miss Rebel's voice quietly soared, telling sad tales of loneliness, loss, and perseverance. Again, maybe I expected something more jumpy, but since when has country not had a rather large element of melancholy?

Not that the band couldn't swing at times. The bass was great and the interplay of acoustic & electric got some tunes really moving. But overall, the feeling was of a listening to a great jukebox on a little highway joint somewhere on your way out west, sippin' whiskey and contemplatin' the universe.

Like I said, it was a quiet night in Raleigh. The show wasn't heavily attended. But that's never been the best indicator of a good show. They got a gig at Slim's the next night, so hopefully, more locals got a chance to check them out. There's a lot of rootsy, Americana/Appalachain-influenced indie music around these parts, but not much country & western. Miss Lana Rebel & the Broken Promises brought some of that to town Thursday (more the western, I'd say), and we're glad they did.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

The Love Language, In Residency at Slim's (Night 4, 5/6/11)

The Love Language closed out their 4-night residency at Slim's Downtown Distillery in Raleigh, NC, Friday night. The opening band was Lonnie Walker, who I have seen before and liked. But they totally won me over this time. Their sound reminds me of some of the 1990's Ghostmeat Records bands (Sunbrain, Tony Tidwell, Drive by Truckers), in feel if not exactly sound. Is it just me, or is Lonnie Walker frontman Brian Corum the spitting image of Paul Westerberg here?

After covering the Velvet Underground's entire White Light/White Heat album on Night 3, the Love Language returned to close the week with a mix of originals from both of their CDs. As with Night 1, the show was a raucous party. The small space was I'm sure fun and familiar to a band with the not-too-long-ago penchant for playing house parties (but maybe never again). They enjoyed every minute as much as the audience, as all danced and sang along to "Blue Angel", "Manteo", "Lalita", "Providence", and about a dozen others... probably about an even split between the two CDs.

The encore included "Pedals", which I'd not heard played live (and was beautiful). Brian from Lonnie Walker helped close the night signing "Louie Louie" with the Love Language backing, and bodies were flying everywhere (see last picture: off the monitors, over the crowd...). Slim's was definitely pushed to the limit on this night.

What a great band, club, scene, and all-around vibe to have something like this happen in Raleigh. After following idols like Arcade Fire and Guided by Voices around the country (and making idols of themselves to more than a few I'm sure), to come and host what basically was a 4-night party in such an intimate venue was a downright gift to fans and downtown Raleigh alike. Guitarist/producer BJ Burton says they're looking around for a space in Raleigh to record their third CD this summer; so hopefully we'll get another gift in the reasonable future (though they haven't played any new songs yet that I know of).

A few photos and a video below (the haunting "This Blood Is Our Own", preceded by some chatting with the crowd about the week). Pics are a little different than Night 1, as I only used a 80-200mmm zoom on night 4, which probably wan't ideal for the venue and show. Just thought I'd try something different on the second go-round.

The shirt, the shirt...

Too much of this...

...leads to this...

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Love Language, In Residency at Slim's (Night 1, 5/3/11)

This was the first night of the Love Language's 4-night "residency" at the small downtown Raleigh club, Slim's. The place MAYBE holds 100; your name was on the list when they checked off your ticket. All-in-all a pretty intimate venue for a band getting used to Coachella and opening gigs for Arcade Fire.

And it just demonstrates the energy of club shows. These guys are always great, but I saw them open for Phoenix at the Koka Booth Ampitheater, and here at little ole Slim's... and there was no doubt which of those shows packed the most punch (hint: THIS one...)
They played the self-titled debut CD in it's entirety, then came back for a T. Rex a cover with members of the opener, Left Outlet, and closed with Blue Angel, Heart To Tell, and This Room from their sophomore CD, Libraries (I think Brittany's Back was in there, too).

Just a picture dump here; no time to write more. The first pic has Missy playing with Left Outlet at the end of their set, where the keyboards got mighty funky! It was a GREAT show, and I'm looking forward to Night 4 Friday! (see bottom for a video, too)

And here's a video of Nocturne, a sweet, sublime song from the debut CD, in which the LL, in typical fashion, really rawked out with live.