Be one with the music, grasshopper.
A beautiful surprise came to Mercury Lounge for the early show. Lost in the Trees put on an impressive and tight set that could be a sign of major things to come for the North Carolina outfit. One of my favorite aspects of live music are bands that have 5 or 6 members that combined sound like twenty or a full orchestra. These classically-minded cats create an interesting and engaging experience -- part gospel revival, part traveling road show.
What you have on stage are strings, acoustic guitars, tuba, french horn, accordion, drums and bass coming together for quite an experience. I wasn't familiar with their whole catalog going in, but I appreciate how they make old time, 30s American folk into a grand statement. That's not to say that they are here to kick your soul around, they have great contrast between their soft, introspective tunes and their more cinematic achievements like Walk Around the Lake.
When they trotted out their big, brash tune, Fireplace, with its 70s classic rock riff and "shout from the mountain tops" vocals, I thought it would have been a perfect closer. For these new bands, I almost recommend ending with their best tune. When they started to assemble for their true finale, I was like, "Noooooo, end it with power." I was wrong. The band came out into the crowd to form a circle to perform an unplugged sing-a-long. That was damn awesome, I must say. It ties up Ari Picker's thoughts that he told the crowd, that music can be some sort of shared religious experience.
Their debut album, All Alone In An Empty House, is out now via Anti- Records.
Local guys and gals, The Loom, seem to made to open for Lost in the Trees. Both bands take that gothic Americana sound and rejigger it for modern ears.
I expected at any time during The Loom's set that some old prospector would wonderon stage and yell, "John Barleycorn, you best be runnin'. The sheriff is out to git ya!" They take all those mysterious elements you find in those old sepia-toned pictures of the late-19th Century of the Dust Bowl and Old West and put them to music. I bet you The Loom would make the perfect soundtrack for a documentary about the Turn of the Century.
If I could contrast them with Tress, The Loom have more of a foot-stompin quality, where you can clap along at certain points to get into the spirit of their tune. For their musical setup, they have banjos, violin, french horn, trumpet, double bass drums and guitars. They have a rich texture going through the music, and I like the drive of tunes like "The Middle Distance" and "True Believers All".