Carbon Leaf at Baltimore Soundstage


 

My wife and I rarely miss a Carbon Leaf show that comes our way.  In fact, I could find you at least four previous concert reviews I’ve done for their shows, but I’ll settle for one.  Needless to say, they’re an awesome act, full of warm personalities and funny moments.  But I’ve never had the pleasure to try my hand at giving them the full-on concert photography treatment, so it seemed like a no-brainer when I heard they were playing down the street from me at Baltimore Soundstage.  Here’s my review and picture gallery of that evening, April 15, which saw the band joined by a new trio, Me And My Brother.

Me And My Brother:  Official Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

“Grammatically incorrect and not actually related” states the little black and white info card I picked up from Me And My Brother’s merch stand.  And so it is, three solo artists [Carl Anderson / Schuyler Fisk / Sam Wilson] who happened to be touring alongside one another last Fall found themselves pulled together by an overwhelming bond.  It’s quite impressive that they’ve written a good deal of songs together in the short time since.  The modest group stood before us and laid out largely acoustic, folksy tunes (with a little electric inflection courtesy of Wilson), even joined by Carbon Leaf’s resident mandolin player, Carter Gravatt, and drummer Kurt Leon for two separate songs.  As of yet, the group hasn’t released an album of their unified efforts, but I purchased Carl Anderson’s solo album, Risk Of Loss, which possessed an air that reminded me vaguely of  Warren Zevon (though dialed back on the L.A. cynicism).  While the trio was laid back and reminded me of sitting on the porch with family on a warm Summer’s evening, songs like “Champagne and Reefer” gave me cause to pause and chuckle.

 

Carbon Leaf: Official Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | iTunes

It’s been a long time since I’ve been to a Carbon Leaf show in which I wasn’t seated at a table enjoying dinner and a nice drink.  While those holiday shows are always special and dear to me, the energy displayed last Saturday gave way to an entirely different atmosphere.  One difference was a disco ball which ricocheted rays across the crowd and band in a stunning display of dancing starlight.  Every song could have been confused for a sing-along, as the audience knew these tunes by heart.  Old favorites like “What About Everything?” and “One Prairie Outpost” from Indian Summer are obvious, but even the intimate one-mic rendition of “Two Aging Truckers,” from the more recent Constellation Prize, received the audience’s choral treatment.  And the laughter of the band was infectious and spread throughout the night, such as the moment when vocalist Barry Privett disappeared for a few seconds and guitarist Terry Clark sneakily entered the center-stage spotlight for his newfound role as lead singer.  Privett returned the favor, as you can see below, by rocking out with some very sweet air guitar.

As the band left the stage at the end of the night, chants of “One more song!” emerged from the crowd.  Not long afterwards, Privett returned once more, jumping off the front of the stage and planting himself alongside the concert-goers, joining in their chant.  He quickly became unhappy with the lack of the band’s response, and began booing the others.  The crowd erupted in laughter, and a smile slipped across his face, climbing back onto stage for the closing track, “Let Your Troubles Roll By.”  After the show, the band made their way to the merch table, talking and signing things for fans until it was closing time.  I can only imagine how many conversations they accumulated amongst themselves before the night was over.  But every fan who stuck around was a happy camper, and I assure you, you will be too if you have the chance to catch this fine group of men in concert.

Live Review: The Last Bison brings ‘VA’ to Vinyl in Atlanta

The Last Bison

The Last Bison

Review and Photography by Danielle Boise

North Carolina natives Bombadil opened for the The Last Bison at Vinyl on Thursday, Oct. 23 for an intimate night of conversation and song. If you want to see a band, I highly recommend seeing them while they are playing smaller venues. This create a much more intimate experience that forges a bound between performer and fan. And this is exactly what happened for both Bombadil and The Last Bison’s sets.

 

Bombadil

Bombadil

 

Bombadil started the night out on a refreshingly, albeit, quirky breath of fresh air that reminded me of a cross section of Jonathan Coulton meets Ben Gibbard. In between songs, James Phillips or Daniel Michalak would interject with random questions or statements to the crowd, like “How often do you go to the Center for Puppetry Arts? Are we in Midtown? Did you go to the protest today at the Capital?” Even on a small stage, Michalak was exploding with energy, bounding across the stage between Phillips and Stuart Robinson. It was a sight to see; the amount of pure energy that the band puts forth in between quiet moments of acappella songs to the passionate end with “Laundromat.”

 

The Last Bison

The Last Bison

 

“I grew up on classic rock-and-roll,” Benjamin Hardesty

 

The Last Bison

The Last Bison

The alternative-folk/rock six-piece ensemble, The Last Bison kicked off their set with a new song off of VA, which happens to be one of my personal favorites, “Bad Country.” The Last Bison brings together a verbose, rich sound that is lush with a palette of strings and percussion that harmonizes together to create a sound that is pure bliss with a hint of nostalgia. It’s like listening to magic unfold before you and seeing them live is ten times better than listening to their album. I didn’t think they could top what they recorded, but they did and they did it with gusto.

 

The Last Bison

The Last Bison

 

“We released a new record, VA, a couple of weeks ago. We’re really excited about it,” Benjamin Hardesty.

 

The Last Bison

The Last Bison

 

There is nothing better than going out and hearing a band perform live to lift one’s spirits and seeing The Last Bison perform with such earnest and heartfelt vigor, they reminded me why I love music so much. The unadulterated passion that showed up on stage as they perform their own music to invigorating covers just leaves you feeling lighthearted and happy when you leave. If you get a chance, this is a band you will want to see. They are out on tour through the end of November to promote their latest release, VA, which came out on Sept. 30.

The Last Bison

The Last Bison

 

 

 

Full Photo Gallery of The Last Bison

 

Full Photo Gallery of Bombadil