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

Bombadil’s Metrics of Affection CD Review

Bombadil-Metrics-of-Affection-album-cover-300x300

In July 2013, Bombadil released its newest album entitled Metrics of Affection. The band quite literally returned to its roots and recorded the new release in the band’s old house in Durham, North Carolina. Band members Daniel Michalak, James Phillips, Bryan Rahija and Stuart Robinson decided to self-produce their new music and made sure that everything possible was done within the confines of the band. The group wrote, recorded and produced the album, and even had drummer James Phillips engineer it in Bombadil’s home studio. The finished product is a landmark achievement for the band, filled with songs that are as catchy and enjoyable as they are complex and evasive.

The ID3 tag classifies Metrics of Affection as “indie rock,” but the album almost defies you to back it into a genre specific corner. In each of the songs, Bombadil shows love for all types of music by embracing almost every style it can. Yet, where some bands would falter and be accused of over-reaching, Bombadil manages to find strength and proudly display it. A perfect example of the musical synchronicity found on the album is an experimental rap-filled number called “Isn’t it Funny” directly preceding the ironically titled “Boring County Song.” While bassist Daniel Michalak ties both songs together with his vocals, the total contrast in composition, style and rhythm makes you stop and pay closer attention.

As a whole, Metrics of Affection is filled with songs that come calling on many musical genres, but never stay for long or past their welcome. Perhaps “indie rock” is the appropriate label for Bombadil, but it is not because the band decided to constrain itself. However a listener chooses to classify Metrics of Affection, it is hard to debate the group’s passion and ability to write memorable music.

Bombadil is currently on the road supporting Metrics of Affection and will be opening for Black Prairie at Eddie’s Attic on Sept. 17 . You can purchase tickets through Eddie’s Attic.