Saturday, February 28, 2015

The Family Crest and Other Recommended Concert Performers

     We spent another enjoyable evening at The Chapel in San Francisco. There were four performances representing a variety of genres. One trait that the performers had in common – they all deserve significantly more attention than they are currently receiving, although at least one is traveling along the on-ramp of wide-spread notoriety. We purchased tickets because The Family Crest was headlining. But before The Family Crest played their first note, we had received more than our money’s worth of entertainment.

     The first band was Before the Brave, a San Francisco band which exited their hiatus when offered the opportunity to join the others at The Chapel. During that hiatus, they were working on an album. 
     They had an effective entrance, particularly for those of us who are just becoming familiar with the band. Only a female/male vocal duo was on stage for the start of the first song, with the male playing an acoustic guitar. After the audience had settled into that arrangement, a third member appeared (almost secretively, since the stage entrance is a narrow door at the bottom of a staircase). When he picked up his electric guitar, the audience voiced its appreciation – good got better. After the audience had again settled into the arrangement, two more members appeared – better got best.
     Before the Brave is a Folk-Rock band with a greater emphasis on the Folk than the Rock. The band is particularly strong on female/male harmonization, an energetic stage presence, and the electric guitar (a Gibson, I was told). The five members are Beth Garber (vocals), Jason Stevens (acoustic guitar, vocals), Kyle Redmond Teese (drums), Ryan Devisser (electric guitar), and CJ Bergman (keys).
      “Free” by Before the Brave

Hey, we know - poor photography. Sorry!
     Zachary Blizzard was second. We had seen him at The Chapel once before - when he opened for Bear’s Den in March 2014. So, we thought we knew what was to occur.  But Blizzard was a far more accomplished guitarist than we remembered. And he has a very interesting vocalization style. He seems to often perform without Cannons and Clouds, a San Francisco band in which he is the lead singer. We have to put Cannons and Clouds higher on the list of bands to see!

      Smoke Season occupied the stage next. Our research was useless. It described the band as having an Americana flavor. We never tasted that flavor. Our description of their music is that it's Electronic with a heavy dose of vocal processing. Even for our favorite bands, it's common to experience a short attention drift at some point. We never experienced a drift during the Smoke Season set. The pink-haired Gabrielle Wortman was a whirlwind of movements, sometimes intentionally mechanical and sometimes smooth and sultry. Guitarist Jason Rosen never really “let it fly” on the guitar, but his style fit the songs well and the purity of his voice was an interesting contrast to his look in his tank top.
      Smoke Season was in San Francisco for the single performance, since they had a scheduled appearance at Sayers Club in Los Angeles the next evening. The Facebook page identifies their hometown as Hollywouldn't, California, and their genre as Dustbowl Soul. It's not true for their other songs, but if you like Delta Spirit, you’ll likely enjoy their single “Badlands.”
      “Simmer Down” – the final song in the setlist of Smoke Season


       This was our third time seeing The Family Crest (fourth if the guest visit by frontman Liam McCormick with Austin’s Mother Falcon is counted). We have run out of superlatives in describing the band, but the band hasn’t run out of discoverable nuances. We would describe the band as being Orchestral Rock, but their self-description is Baroque Pop. A cello, a trombone, a bass fiddle and a flute, along with the more standard instruments of bands we see – this is the type of band that must be personally experienced to be fully appreciated. It won’t be the last time we see The Family Crest.
     The members are Liam McCormick, John Seeterlin, Charlie Giesige, Laura Bergmann, George Mousa Samaan, Owen Sutter, and Charly Akert.
      “Love Don’t Go”
     Below is a video from the performance, but it was captured by an unknown follow attendee. Thank you, sir!

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