von Grey at Eddie’s Attic Nov. 13

von Grey brought its folk-alternative sound to Eddie’s Attic Nov. 13, selling out the venue easily in their hometown of Atlanta. The band, comprised of four classically trained sisters, has steadily been on the rise, scoring appearances on both David Letterman and Conan O’Brien last year, as well as opening for the likes of Sarah McLachlan and Lindsay Stirling.

Wyatt Espalin kicked off the night, charming the audience from the very start of his set, performing songs from his debut album The Pardon. Hailing from Hiawassee, Ga., Espalin’s folk/country/bluegrass sound was interspersed with amusing stories about each song. His fiery fiddle playing was rivaled only by his unique vocals, accompanied by a backing banjo as he joked that “Contest the Will” was definitely not about his own family and reminisced about growing up on the Ocoee River before the gorgeous “Ocoee.” Espalin’s set was over much too soon with “Waterfalls,” and he left the stage to enormous applause.

Then it was on to the highlight of the evening; the von Grey sisters took the stage clad in the signature dark clothes that seem to reflect a certain darkness in their music, picked up their respective instruments and launched into “Keep It Cool,” the opening track from the band’s 2013 EP Awakening. The audience was clearly hooked from that very first song, just sitting back and taking in von Grey’s expansive sound that encompasses folk, alternative and just the right amount of bluegrass, along with stunning harmonies that are like no other. An exquisite cover of Damien Rice’s “Volcano” moved things along before the band returned to its own material, such as “Deliverance” and “All I Know.” Co-lead vocalists Annika and Fiona took turns wowing the crowd with their impressive range, while Petra and Kathryn provided percussion and cello, respectively. The four sisters displayed an amazing sense of musicianship throughout the night, from Annika’s violin and banjo to Fiona’s acoustic guitar and fiddle, Kathryn’s effortless switch from cello to mandolin and Petra’s keys and percussion, producing a sound that is von Grey’s own.

Another cover, this time Nickel Creek’s “When In Rome” was a highlight of the night and “Death” was a more uplifting song than it sounds. Before the song, Fiona joked, “We’re happy people, can’t you tell by our sunny wardrobe?” gesturing to her black clothes. “Reborn,” “Slipping,” and “Katie” came next before the sisters announced that they only had time for one more song, though the crowd was clamoring for more. “This song might be a bit sexist, but it works,” Fiona told the audience before an unexpected cover of Tom Jones’ “She’s a Lady” ended the stellar performance.

Wyatt Espalin

von Grey

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