Monday, September 8, 2014

Mother Falcon at The Chapel – A Concert Review

     At The Chapel in San Francisco, bands reach the stage by descending a narrow staircase leading to a door at one side of the stage. Because of the dimensions of the door and its position to the staircase, band members make their appearances one at a time. For most bands, it happens quickly. But on Saturday, Mother Falcon was eleven strong; and some of the people in attendance counted each new appearance with increases in volume and enthusiasm.
     It was one of those “glass half full or half empty” moments. Fans of Mother Falcon might think, “Wow, that many members commit to a tour of intimate venues knowing that payments are split among eleven people.” Without question, Mother Falcon tours for reasons other than establishing retirement accounts. Other fans of Mother Falcon might think, “Wow, only eleven members; where are the others?” When performing in hometown Austin, Texas, there are thirteen members, which sometimes balloons as high as twenty. But the “half empty” segment of fans soon ended any concern – Mother Falcon put on a performance to remember.
Our camera had an off-night, so we're including this Polaroid of the
crowd at The Chapel - Taken by band member Tamir Kalifa 
     It would be difficult to find a band with more members who are exceptional musicians. Sure, Mother Falcon has the advantage over other bands, since it has more members. But it is equally true to say that it would be difficult to find another band with as high a ratio of members who are clearly exceptionally skilled at their craft. Almost every member played more than one instrument. The instruments include
the usual (guitars, mandolin, keyboards and drums), strings (cello, upright bass and violin), horns (three saxophones, clarinet and trumpet), and the unconventional (accordion and slide guitar). In sports, the players we are most inclined to follow and fully appreciate are those who were born with talent that sets them apart from the rest of us, and then worked at getting the most from that gift while maintaining a love and high level of respect for the game. Applying that to music, we are inclined to follow and fully respect Mother Falcon, both individually and collectively.
Liam McCormick's guest appearance

     As entertaining as the eleven members of Mother Falcon were, the highlight of the evening occurred when Liam McCormick joined for one song (“Pennies”). McCormick is the frontman for the San Francisco-based band The Family Crest. With his distinctive selection of headwear, he was easy to spot while he watched most of the performance from a side balcony area. But with the focus being on the band, it was easy to miss McCormick’s departure from the balcony, until he walked to a microphone. He used a scat singing style that often gave the impression that he was taking the place of a saxophone. It gave us an appreciation for scat that did not previously exist. [If you haven’t purchased tickets to see The Family Crest at The Independent on December 6, we recommend that you do so. For ticket information, CLICK HERE.] 
     The guest appearance by Liam McCormick reinforced our conclusion that, despite having so many skilled band members, egos don’t get in the way. It’s the art, and not the artists, that takes center stage.  
      “Dirty Summer” by Mother Falcon

     “Marigold” by Mother Falcon

Mother Falcon: NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert

No comments:

Post a Comment