Saturday, October 23, 2010

Concert review: Fruit Bats, Boca Chica

Saturday, October 2, 2010
Garfield Artworks

Still catching up on reviews; this was a few weeks ago so details are hazy but I remember having a really good time. Boca Chica was good: folksy and upbeat with good guitar-playing and vocals. Fruit Bats were great: exciting and enthusiastic folk-rock, lots of good guitar work and percussion, and the vocals were a perfect match for their instrumental sound (his voice wouldn't necessarily work with anything, I think).

Unfortunately, I pretty much entirely missed the opener Jaybird; Leigh and I were running late for the show for some reason. I had emailed Hallie from Boca Chica earlier that week to buy two+ tickets from her, but we got there towards the end of the first set, and someone was standing at the door offering a last-minute ticket for $10 (they were $15 at the door) so we took it. Turns out, that was Hallie! (Sorry we were late :-\ I guess I owe you.) We walked up towards the stage and took a seat on the floor in the middle of the room and cracked open our East End growlers which were deliciously delectable brews. Jaybird ended up being one guy with an amped guitar plucking raw emotion from the strings and belting out his lyrics over the fucking chatty folks hanging out near the entrance. I wish I had caught more; I liked what I saw.

Boca Chica played a solid set next. Lead singer/guitarist Hallie was quite good, imbuing their songs with heartfelt (sometimes melancholy, based on the lyrics I could make out) emotion while maintaining an upbeat character to it all. The other male guitarist was really amazing, and I was super-impressed with his lap guitar playing. Their bassist was also reeeeeally pregnant; I can't even believe she was onstage playing! They made a joke during their set that the baby would automatically know all the bass parts of the songs by osmosis. I'm looking forward to seeing them again; Boca Chica is one of those local bands that I've somehow missed out on seeing every time they're around, and now that I've had a sampling, I definitely want to experience more.

Fruit Bats played last and really rocked the house, in the sense of ... well, getting the crowd excited with their songs and playing them really well. I had heard a few of their songs before, including a good Neil Young cover, and found one of their albums at the library, and I had heard thru the internet-grapevine that their lead man was now part of The Shins, which is pretty fucking cool, I say. Their songs embody a really catchy and rockin' blend of indie rock, folk, country, and pop. The drummer was good, their lead guitaritst was good, their bassist was good. Shit, they were all really good musicians. They are truly a band, you know what I mean? It's impressive to see a group of people so confident in their sound and songs really hammering that all out onstage, sharing the experience with the viewers. I was drawn in the whole time and really enjoyed their set. I'm not sure how much I'll enjoy listening to their albums outside of that, but if any part of it recreates the live experience in my mind and ears, then I'll definitely like that. And I will certainly see them live again if they pass through town. Check out this live video I took at the show (they introduced it as a new song from an upcoming album):


Boca Chica
Story on NPR! (with free mp3 download)

Fruit Bats

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