Monday, November 1, 2010

Concert review / upcoming show: Big Snow Big Thaw

Sunday, October 24, 2010 at a cozy house in East Liberty

Okay, this is partly a joke and partly serious :-) Big Snow Big Thaw is actually my buddy Jim (from Draw Us Lines) and his friend Dave, who I've met a few times now. I forget which one is Snow and which one is Thaw, so they'll have to set you straight on that. This wasn't quite a "concert" in the sense of the shows that I usually attend; this was an informal gathering of friends and acquaintances on a beautiful Sunday morning in the fine autumn time for some pancakes and coffee and a serenade of songs from the two aforementioned gentlemen. I have to say I wasn't entirely thrilled at the prospect of bussing to East Liberty at 10:00 a.m. after a late Saturday night, but in the end, I'm really glad I did. This place was at the end of the street in a quiet neighborhood with a fenced in yard so the extremely energetic puppy dog could run around freely. There were a dozen or so folks there, in all, with a few faces I recognized and some new people to meet. We were served vegan banana pancakes and maple syrup from an old rum bottle, plus a spread of delicious fruit, and a plate of bacon for the meat-eaters. Oh yeah, there was a big jug of coffee, too, thankfully. Neil Young's Harvest was playing on the stereo and I could hear the leaves rustling in the wind outside through the porch screen door. It was the perfect setting for some folk music.

After milling about for a while and chatting with folks, we settled into our chairs for an intimate performance from Jim and Dave. Jim plays banjo and Dave plays acoustic guitar and they both sing, and they do all of it well. With no other accompaniment or effects, they really filled the living room of this place with lovely sounds and heartfelt tunes. The first song they played was a cover (forget who, sorry) and then they played a bunch of originals that one or the other or both had written, plus one other cover song (a sweet version of local band Boca Chica's song "Lake Erie"). The banjo/guitar combo works really well for them and they have good vocal harmonies, with Jim hitting more of the high notes and David staying in the lower range. They had soft, melodic songs and quiet moments mostly, but they could really bust out a rockin' riff if they had to, and they did that a few times; in fact, this was the first time I'd seen an audience member tell a musician that his folk song was "badass". All in all, it was a really good time. I don't want to spoil the surprise too much because their first show is coming up rather soon: Thursday, November 18th, 2010 @ the Lava Lounge on the South Side. They're playing with other locals Dandelion Snow and the Justin Andrew Band. Lava Lounge is a fairly intimate venue with a small stage, so I think it will suit them all well. See yinz there!

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