So far this is shaping up to be a great year, thanks in no small part to last night's Hi-Dive show. The show had the honors of being the first one up for coverage on this blog for this young year, and it set the bar high. The show played out a little differently from what I expected, but the mix of various approaches to indie rock that performed and the exhibition of musicianship put forth by all three bands was a sight to behold, making for a very entertaining and memorable show.
|Luke Price and Carl Sorensen|
A little bit of lineup shuffling took place, so the show began with what was originally billed as the headliners, Dean!, from Portland. Except there was actually only one member of Dean! in town, singer/guitarist Luke Price. Science Partner drummer Carl Sorensen joined Luke Price on stage and they performed as a duo. Luke Price and Carl Sorensen performed some of Dean!'s original songs and a couple covers in a slightly stripped down style, yet there was something very mesmerizing and quite powerful about the approach they took. The pair were armed with simple tools, just an electric guitar, a simple drum kit, and Luke Price's incredible voice, yet with those tools they managed to perform a variety of songs drenched in captivating bluesy soul enhanced by the strong manner in which the two played off each other on stage. If this was just a sneak peek into the Dean! sound, I'll take it, as I can only imagine how much more enthralling the full band sound would be.
|Chimney Choir + Carl Sorensen|
Next up was Chimney Choir, an immensely innovative and talented indie folk-inspired rock band from Denver. It's a little difficult to describe what goes on in a Chimney Choir show, but only because so much awesomeness happens in different ways it can be a bit overwhelming to catch it all at once. Chimney Choir is the trio of David Rynhart, Kevin Larkin and Kris Drickey. The three all share vocal duties, often resulting in beautifully strong three part harmonies. They also rotate through an impressive array of instruments; guitar, banjo, keyboard, percussion, and synthesizer. Kevin Larkin also added mandolin and harmonica to the mix at times, and as an added bonus, drummer Carl Sorensen added an extra layer of goodness to their sound with a seemingly junkyard inspired drum kit - glass bottles, a trash can lid, shakers made from tin cans, a large gear from an engine.
|Carl Sorensen's unique drum kit|
Seeing the crazy collection of instruments on stage before Chimney Choir played made me wonder how they'd turn that chaotic display into ordered sound, but once the music began it was absolutely clear this band had a method to their madness. They began their set with "Vacation" from their album Turtle, a modern folk song with such intricate harmonies and polyrhythms that simply calling it folk doesn't fully describe what the song encompasses.
|Kevin Larkin of Chimney Choir|
With factory-like precision, the members of the band would then trade places and instruments between each subsequent song, showcasing each member's multi-instrumentalism. Their songs ranged from fun and energetic to more solemn, introspective and soulful but each and every one was a powerful display of creativity through performance and a testament to good songwriting - an incredible journey through sound from start to finish. Hearing their recorded music is one thing, but if you haven't seen this band live, you haven't seen the wizard behind the machine and aren't getting the whole picture - this is definitely a band to go see.
Science Partner came out last to close out a superb evening of music, and they delivered an amazing performance. Science Partner performed as a six-piece band; Tyler Despres on vocals/guitar, Carl Sorensen on drums (a very busy guy for this night), Luke Mossman on guitar (of Achille Lauro), Jonathan Evans on bass (also of Achille Lauro), Maria Kohler on vocals (of Mercuria & The Gem Stars) and Jess DeNicola on vocals. Together this band performed modern indie rock songs with an unreal amount of energy and polish.
|Luke Mossman of Science Partner|
The songs were mostly guitar driven, and the two guitar setup made for some intricate and infectious instrumentation. The rhythm section was incredibly fluid, and added a lot of oomph to some of the more energetic songs. The vocals are definitely what set this band apart, Tyler Despres' lead vocals are so soulful alone, yet exponentially enhanced when accompanied by the harmonies of Jess DeNicola and Maria Kohler. The resulting band sound is one that completely envelops the listener - soothing when it wants to be but otherwise razor blade sharp.
|Tyler Despres of Science Partner|
Science Partner started things off slowly but with command as they began their set with "A Little Sound". Starting with just Tyler Despres on vocals/guitar, the song builds - first with harmony and a little finger snapping, and then an all out burst in a crescendo of full band sound that grabs hold of the listener and never lets go. The set as whole was absolutely amazing, but I thought the songs "Animal" and "Bee Is A Bee" stood out and really showcased the variety of sound and strength of style that this band has. Science Partner was great on stage, guiding the audience through their set between songs with gregarious humor, and exhibited passionate stage presence during the performance of their songs, making the whole experience quite comfortable and appealing. By the time they reached the end of their set with "Eager Eyes", I was hoping they would play for twice as long - this band is just, as they've been described on their Bandcamp page, just really good.
See more pictures from this show in the Facebook photo album. Like the Concerted Effort page and stay up to date.