We love scrolling through Instagram and Twitter on the night of a Lone Bellow show, getting glimpses of fans' anticipation before the show, and their awe during and after the show. It's fun to see pictures of the band performing, and pictures of fans with the band after the show. From what we have seen tonight, it appears The Lone Bellow worked their magic for the folks in Toronto! We would love to hear more details from those of you who were there. Please feel free to share here in our comments section or on our Facebook page!
After our trip to Portland and Burlington, we had to return home to Boston, to our families and to real life. We feel lucky to have seen the first three shows of The Lone Bellow's new tour. And we feel so fortunate to have partners who support us in our passion, taking time off from work to care for our kids while we head out on the road.
We did, however, feel some sadness at not being in Montreal last night for the show at Petit Campus. But we would love to hear from you if you were lucky enough to be there. What was your favorite song, moment, story, or cover?
We owe the wonderful people of Vermont an apology. We are uptight, type A, genuine Massholes and this rough winter has us on edge. Although we are from Texas, we’ve been in Boston long enough to have forgotten that sometimes people are just gosh darn friendly for no apparent reason, and to these people, attending concerts is not a competitive act. We entered Arts Riot with our front-and-center-stage strategy firmly in place: grab drinks, stay close to the door, make a mad dash. After a line formed, a small group of people came in and hovered right by the door, seemingly ignoring the growing queue. We were outraged. Just who did they think they were? There was no way they were going to get in front of us. We grumbled. We silently cried foul. We were childish.
The doors opened and we made our way to the stage. Alone. We were confused. Where were all of those rude people who were trying to cut in front of us? How come we were 4 inches from the stage and everyone else was at least 4 feet back? And then it dawned on us. We’re in Vermont, home to some of the kindest and most laid back people on Earth. These people were not here to win the concert game, they were here to have fun, and they certainly did that well.
We have to admit, friendly or not, we have always loved being a part of Boston crowds at the many Lone Bellow shows we’ve been to. Sure, they can be rowdy, but Boston audiences make it clear that they will take any and everything the band throws at them. We have come to expect the unexpected at Boston shows, and that’s part of what makes them so fun. We thought nothing could compare to Boston, but Burlington proved us wrong. Burlington clearly loves The Lone Bellow, and we were so incredibly happy to be among them.
As soon as the band came onto the stage, a large portion of the crowd started chanting, “Twig! Twig! Twig!” We don’t know the whole story there (feel free to enlighten us!), but this was a nickname given to Brian Elmquist the last time they passed through town. When Zach Williams asked the crowd to sing along, they did, loudly and proudly. During “Diners,” Zach suggested we waltz with one another. While he made this same request at both of the Paradise shows, last night was the first time we actually witnessed an entire audience waltzing about the room.
So often it happens that we are at a Lone Bellow show and there is a moment where you realize anything goes, and that you may find yourself in tears of laughter, or tears from being overcome with emotion. For us, this moment came when Zach and Kanene Pipkin began talking about some of the first songs they sang together. They started singing the Michael McDonald song “I Keep Forgetting,” prompting Jason Pipkin to transition into the rap song “Regulate” by Warren G and Nate Dogg. Despite Zach telling Jason to stop, almost as if they just couldn’t help themselves, they continued with Brian rapping, while Kanene managed an impressive imitation of Michael McDonald’s voice. Somehow this led to “California Love” by 2Pac, changing “Compton” to “Burlington” and a few shouts of “Maple Syrup” for good measure.
Although it seems unlikely that the band could transition from this to something more thoughtful, that’s exactly what happened. The set continued with “Telluride,” pulling the audience from hilarious to serious. Getting short on time, they were only able to continue with a couple of more songs, and weren’t able to pull off an entire encore. We are certain nobody minded, though.
The dark history of Marcy's vs Becky's was revealed last night at the Lone Bellow show here in Portland, as the namesakes of favorite local diners fought over a fisherman out in the middle of the ocean, with a giant squid, only to have Eventide Oyster Bar roll in on a wave of gentrification. At least that's how it went down in Zach's brain. After sharing with the audience that he “sank the Titanic” – what he referred to as a 9 pound omelet- at Becky’s, an audience member made the suggestion that he try Marcy’s. To this, he quickly rolled out a story of what must have surely been their rivalry, in that way that only Zach can.
In short, if one of the reasons you enjoy seeing The Lone Bellow in concert is to get a glimpse into the inner workings of Zach’s on-the-fly story telling skills, then last night would not have disappointed. Aside from one excellent set list (we’ll get to it!) we were privy to so many silly exchanges, convincing us yet again that this band absolutely loves what they do.
There was a lot of focus on attire, as Zach made sure to let the audience know how impressed he was with Jason’s elbow pads. He also reminisced on the 80’s love of shoulder pads, trying to convince Kanene that she needs them. Bryan, looking dapper in a tie, was not left out of the exchange, as Zach shared that he thought his tie pattern looked like bacteria. Later, when Zach made some, uh, interesting jokes about his relationship with their road manager Brian quipped, “It’s 50 shades of denim,” which got a hearty round of laughter from the audience.
As great as these moments are, we know it really is all about the music. Perhaps we were unfair yesterday in saying that we would “review” the show, for that implies impartiality, which we are no longer capable of. With each passing show, we become more steadfast in our belief that The Lone Bellow is incapable of putting on anything less than a stellar performance. We realized last night that part of the joy for us now is observing how the audience responds to them. We met a few people who had never seen them live before and something makes us so happy about knowing what they are about to discover, and we feel certain that their first show will not be their last. As for now, we are relishing the fact that we can still see them perform in smaller venues, because it feels like these days are numbered. We may weep when they start selling out stadium sized venues, but we cannot deny that they will have sincerely earned it.
We just arrived in Portland, where we are counting down the hours to see The Lone Bellow perform tonight. Boston has given us the worst winter ever, and escaping the city to see our favorite band two nights in a row feels like a very well deserved treat. Stay tuned for the review!
As promised, here are some exclusive photos taken by Marc Lacatell at the Paradise show last week. Thank you so much, Marc, for getting in touch with us and for sharing these gorgeous photos.
When we saw on Twitter that Marc Lacatell would be shooting the Paradise show last Thursday for Glide Magazine, we started following him so we would know when his photos were published. After checking out our site, he contacted us and offered to share some exclusive photos after the show. We got to meet Marc briefly at the show, and not only is he a great photographer, he is also a really nice guy. After seeing this "sneak peek," we are excited about receiving some exclusive photos after his review goes live on Glide! We'll share them as soon as we can!
We loved this interview with The Lone Bellow on CBS This Morning. It was great seeing Zach's family - those girls are beyond adorable - and that cute photo of Kanene and Jason in China. My favorite quote from Brian - "I want to grow up to be that old guy in the diner."
Post concert mornings hurt. The adrenaline from the show keeps us from being able to sleep, and there's always a little tinge of sadness that the show has come to an end. Fortunately, we have three more The Lone Bellow shows to attend in upcoming weeks. And after last night's show at the Paradise, we are completely confident that we do indeed have something to look forward to!
Admittedly, it was with slight trepidation that we found ourselves at the front of the stage last night, waiting for the show to start. After all, it was the last Paradise show that turned us into full blown fanatics, and we knew there was no way this show could live up to that one. The show opened with Zach coming onto the stage alone to sing "To the Woods." It was lovely. But it was also different. The rest of the band joined the stage to perform "Cold As It Is," which was, of course, flawless, but also confirmed for us that this was, perhaps, going to be a different kind of show. With Kanene taking on the keyboards and bass guitar (is there anything she can't do?), and a collection of new songs, we just weren't sure of what to expect.
As it turns out, we really had nothing to worry about. They sang all the songs from the new album except for "I Let You Go," and several songs from their first album. We were also lucky enough to get quite a few impromptu covers: Whitney Houston, The Proclaimers, and Joe, just to name a few. This show was a little light on the banter, compared to previous shows, but we did learn that there were no CDs at the merch table due to the USPS not being able to deliver them because of all of the snow. In lieu of CD's, the Pipkins made Valentine's to pass out to fans. (Sadly, we did not receive one.) The show closed with the band in the middle of the crowd, leading us all on "Teach Me To Know." We love when that happens. While we were disappointed that we were not able to chat with the band afterward (the staff at the venue was not about to let that happen), we can say that we left that show feeling like we always do after a Lone Bellow show: completely in awe of what we just experienced.
In spite of our ability to ramble on about the band, it really is impossible to put into words what it is like to see The Lone Bellow perform live. They so obviously love what they do, and they are so, so good at it. Last night they didn't hold anything back. There was so much jubilant energy coming from the stage and it was highly infectious. We're not really sure how they manage to pull off such an amazing performance every single time, but we are sure happy that they do!
Today is the day! After an almost 6 month dry spell of not seeing The Lone Bellow live, we will finally get to see them perform again. To say we are excited is a huge understatement. They will be back at Paradise, the place they performed at the last time they were in Boston. We've written about it before, but it bears repeating, that show was hands down the best concert we have ever been to. We are so looking forward to seeing them in that space again.
We were honored when earlier this week, Marc Lacatell, a photographer for Glide magazine, reached out to us. He wanted to let us know that he would also be at tonight's show, and shared with us his first time seeing The Lone Bellow, which happened to be the first time we saw the band, too. (You can read more about that here.) Two years ago, if you had told either of us that we would soon be doing all sorts of crazy things just to see an opening band that we had never heard of, we would have laughed in your face. OK, maybe we wouldn't have laughed. The truth is, we have done a lot of crazy things to see musicians we love, but The Lone Bellow has brought out a level of crazy that we did not know existed within us! We'll save that for another post, though.
Marc was kind enough to point us in the direction of an interview and concert review, as well as a great collection of photos from the band's April 2013 trip to Boston. We absolutely love looking back at these photos. Although it sounds incredibly corny- it is, in fact, pretty corny- the night we first saw them was pretty special to us.
Tonight I will be seeing my 10th Lone Bellow concert. 10! Perhaps that seems a little excessive, but I think 10,000 shows would not be enough. Whatever it is they do, they do so very well, and we really cannot get enough.
How it all started:
Who We Are
We are Abra and Bobbie, two friends living in Boston who go to a lot of concerts together. We saw The Lone Bellow, having never heard of them, and could not believe our good fortune in discovering such talent. We now try to go by the "Four-Hour-Rule", meaning if we can get to a show within four hours, we will be there, hopefully right up front.