Thursday, May 7, 2009

Bowerbirds with La Strada

Just got back from this show in the Southgate House parlour. As an extra bonus, the local band Wonky Tonk was playing for free in the lounge, which they'll be doing every Wednesday night at 9pm. Unfortunately, I only caught a few original songs from Wonk, as well as the Bob Dylan/Old Crow Medicine Show cover, "Wagonwheel."

I went to this show never have hearing either band's music - I have only read about the buzz surrounding Bowerbirds, but I had never even heard of this band named La Strada.

An indie-folk band hailing from Brooklyn, La Strada opened the show upstairs, shortly after their scheduled time of 9:30pm. Within the first song, I knew that Bowerbirds would have to come up with something huge to convince me that they were indeed the headliners of this tour.

I can't say this enough - one of the best ways to stumble upon great music, is by going to a show when you don't really know anything about the bands. It will leave you feeling completely blown away. At the same time, you must find a highly respected venue, such as the Southgate House, who bring in top-notch, up-and-coming artists on what seems to be a weekly basis.

La Strada wasn't just your typical indie-folk band though. There were six members on stage, some of whom were multi-instrumentalists. Playing everything from your standard instruments such as guitar, bass and drums, they also added the sounds of the accordion, violin and cello. The lead vocalist had both a similar style as well as vocal range to that of Colin Meloy of the Decemberists. The violin playing reminded me much like that of Andrew Bird. They could go from quiet to loud, with the snap of a finger. Most of their songs were heavily experimental, reminding me of what I call an "indie-jamband." There were also hints of gypsy punk, much like you'll find in Gogol Bordello.

By the time La Strada had finished, I was very anxious to see what Bowerbirds would be giving us.

Bowerbirds played for a much longer time than La Strada had played, and it wasn't that they were better or worse, neither band was, it's just that their indie-folk was much different than what La Strada had given us.

They felt much more like a pop band, in terms of songwriting, were as La Strada had felt more experimental and jambandish. However, this four-piece also included the accordion, which again brought a bit of that Decemberists sound, as well as the keyboard, with Beth Tacular managing both.

As I stared in amazement, without flinching nearly their whole set, my main focus seemed to be on frontman Phil Moore, whose voice clearly resembled that of Elvis Perkins.

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