Friday night's show at the Fox Theatre in Boulder was a great showcase of extreme talent and versatility, featuring a visiting performer and a slew of Colorado's own very capable musicians. People lined up early to catch this show, with a steadily growing crowd that became comfortably packed before the touted headlining band took the stage. With a lineup and setting ideal for a quality evening of folk based music, it was little wonder why people seemed to flock to this Boulder show.
The night began with a performance from singer/songwriter Nick Jaina from Portland. Nick Jaina has performed his songs with up to about a dozen backing band members, but on this night he was accompanied by a bassist, drummer, and for a couple of songs, a female duet singer. Together, they performed Nick Jaina's lyrically profound songs with melodies and instrumentation just as profound. Although Nick Jaina's sound has a noticeable contemporary folk influence, his performance was in between modern indie rock and Americana, driven by Nick Jaina's electrified acoustic guitar.
Nick Jaina performed a collection of his original material, cooing the crowd with his earnest, delicate, yet strong voice that delivered his well crafted melodies in a calming low tone or soothing falsetto. His electrified acoustic guitar almost made it seem as if there were two guitarists on stage, as one could hear a faint acoustic steel-string guitar shadowing every amplified strum. The deliberately paced bass and drums gave his music presence. My favorite songs were duet pieces, "Sebastopol" and "Cincinnati" - Nick Jaina and his guest vocals had a strong dynamic and the songs themselves were incredibly beautiful. After seeing his set, it was hard for me to believe I hadn't heard of Nick Jaina before, as his songs were incredible and they lingered with me long after the show. If you like indie folk-rock/Americana, I highly recommend seeking out Nick Jaina's music.
|Patrick Dethlefs with Eye & The Arrow|
|Eye & The Arrow|
The first few songs by Eye & The Arrow were their characteristic blend of folk and classic country with a contemporary twist that I've become very fond of. Their seemingly old west influenced style conjures up images of tumbleweeds, dust, the scorching desert sun and horses parked outside of saloons, but at the same time it doesn't sound out of place in the present time - a good representative of vintage-modern. They performed a handful of their original songs including standouts like "Sheep And Goats" and "Stutter Beat" to the delight of the crowd.
Then Patrick Dethlefs and his accompanying singers came out on stage, and although half the people on stage were from the previous band, a new songwriter and lead vocalist definitely transformed the sound. Patrick Dethlefs' songs had a sort of vintage folk feel to them as well, but more in a reminiscent way - the songs seemed to cause people to peer back at the past as opposed to being completely transported there - an impressive achievement for such a young songwriter. Patrick Dethlefs calls the small town of Kittredge, CO home, and a sort of rustic way of life permeates through his songwriting. Patrick Dethlefs performed pieces of his collaboration album with Eye & The Arrow and also songs off his upcoming album Fall & Rise. Patrick Dethlefs seems to epitomize what it means to be a Colorado folk singer-songwriter, and he is definitely worth checking out.
Lastly, Paper Bird came out on stage to perform their anticipated headlining set. There were seven band members on stage for this performance; Sarah Anderson (vocals, trumpet), Genevieve Patterson (vocals), Esmé Patterson (vocals), Caleb Summeril (banjo, harmonica), Paul DeHaven (guitar), Macon Terry (bass), and Mark Anderson (drums). They performed a comprehensive set of their catalog that showed off their impressive range of skill. The band's music is rooted in contemporary folk, but a variety of influences will appear in their sound throughout their music, setting this band apart from most others out there.
The one element that truly seems to define the Paper Bird sound became immediately evident as the band opened up with "Dear Friend" - the intricate vocal harmonies of the band's three lead singers. Singing close harmonies with the grace and beauty of synchronized swimmers coupled with the skill and precision of fighter jet pilots in tight formation, their voices brought depth and a lively quality to the band's already powerful sound. At any moment one of the three could take lead vocals with their commanding voice, but when all three sang together it was truly artful.
Paper Bird performed a sweeping set of about twenty-five pieces that spanned their repertoire. They performed songs like the roots/Americana/bluegrass influenced "Lost Boys" and "Boxcars And Thistles". They blended folk with a hint of jazz with songs like "Band of Angels". Even the men showed of their lungs with "Witch of the Waves". They really showed off their versatility with some of the selections they performed from Carry On, an album they composed for a ballet. Before they performed the epic world influenced piece "Drekovsky", they spoke of a quote Paul DeHaven said to the Westword, "The ballet changed everything. There's nothing we can't do." Judging by the intricacy, complexity and sheer beauty of the aforementioned piece, I'd have to agree with that assessment.
Paper Bird did a great job of taking the audience along with them on their musical journey, sharing not only their music but pieces of their individual personalities along the way. From their version of the birthday song arranged in Paper Bird fashion dedicated to singer Genevieve Patterson, to pop culture tidbits, interesting personal anecdotes, and other entertaining asides, Paper Bird kept the audience engaged both during and between their songs. Whether the audience was singing along to songs like "By The Wind, Sailor" or dancing up a storm to "Colorado", there was never a dull moment. Not only is Paper Bird very capable of incredible songwriting, they did not disappoint when it came to live performance. If you are a fan of folk and haven't seen Paper Bird yet, you're missing out on some of the best Colorado has to offer.
See more pictures from this show in the Facebook photo album. Like the Concerted Effort page to stay up to date.