We will be getting our recaps of this week's The Lone Bellow shows up soon, but in the meantime we wanted to share our friend, Di Holmes's, gorgeous pictures of the band's shows in London, St. Albans, and Brighton. Thanks for sharing them with us, Di!
I’m writing this on my flight home from Amsterdam, where I had joined my husband for his work trip. It was well timed to match up with part of The Lone Bellow’s European tour (I STRONGLY encouraged my very supportive husband to try to make that happen), so I was able to take a quick flight over to London to see my very favorite band perform at Islington Assembly Hall in London on Friday night.
Often, after I haven’t seen the band for a while (in this case it had been over two months!), I worry that perhaps I won’t find the next show to be as fantastic or exciting. But I am always proven wrong. Even though I’ve seen them perform each song most likely more than a dozen times, even though I know I will probably get sprinkled with more of Zach’s sweat from standing over me on stage during “Heaven Don’t Call Me Home,” or that they will probably break into some wonderfully terrible song from the 90s some time during the night, or that Kanene and Jason will be super cute together at some point, the band is able to make it feel fresh each time. It amazes me that they are able to put so much of themselves into their performance, and share so much of their vulnerability, every single night to connect so deeply with the audience.
Friday night was no different. I’ve seen Zach channel a Southern preacher before, but here he was in full on revivalist mode, at one point staring out into the crowd in a sweaty frenzied way, chanting, “I’m feeling the spirit in here, I’m feeling the spirit in here!” There was definitely some kind of spirit in the room and the crowd was feeling it, too. As always, The Lone Bellow had us in the palm of their hands throughout the show, bringing us up with “Leave Me” and “Take My Love,” then bringing us back down to that deeply emotional place with “Marietta” and “Fake Roses.”
After another series of upbeat songs, including Brian’s “Heaven Don’t Call Me Home,” (yes, plenty of Zach’s sweat rained down on me), Jason and Justin left the stage so Zach, Kanene, and Brian could do the acoustic set that always brings the room to (near) silence. Kanene set the tone for the beauty of the moment with “Call to War,” and then they performed Brian’s “Watch Over Us,” which held the crowd rapt. They finished up with an acoustic version of “Looking For You,” with the disco ball shimmering throughout the room. It was gorgeous, and left me feeling spent.
But leave it to Brian to lighten the mood by doing a quick guitar riff of Springsteen’s “Dancing In the Dark,” and the crowd cheered with encouragement. After a chorus of the song, followed by deep, throaty chants of “Bruce! Bruce!” we were all ready for the slightly more energetic, but still full of feeling, “You Can Be All Kinds of Emotional.”
During the second half of the set, Zach introduced the band. He told the story of how he and Brian met at a talent show as college freshman. Brian was on crutches due to a football injury, but got up to sing Edwin McCain’s “I’ll Be.” During the song, his guitar broke, so he just set it down and finished the song a cappella. Zach decided then and there that he needed to meet that guy on stage. Brian chimed in to share that he and Zach made a bet that he would have to sing the song any time Zach told the story, so the disco ball started up again and we all sang along. When Brian kept going after the first chorus, Zach cringed and begged him to stop, saying he never has to sing it again. We’ll see about that…
When he introduced Kanene, he said her favorite band is Savage Garden, so we all sang along to “Truly Madly Deeply.” Kanene got him back by telling us Zach’s favorite song is “Barbie Girl,” and Zach sheepishly sang the chorus – “I’m a Barbie girl, in the Barbie world, life in plastic, it’s fantastic …” Fortunately the audience knew much of the rest of the song to help him out.
They ended the set with “Green Eyes and a Heart of Gold,” leaving the crowd absolutely riled up before waving and leaving the stage. When they returned for their encore, the crowd spontaneously broke into the chorus of “Green Eyes.” We were definitely feeling that spirit! They brought back the emotions a bit with my personal favorite, “Tree To Grow.” I’m always appreciative when they include that song on the set list. Then they finished up the night with their title track, “Then Came the Morning.” Zach divided the room in half, asking Brian’s side to follow along with him, and Kanene’s side to follow along with her. We all “ahhh-ahhhh-ed” to create the background, while Zach provided the rousing lyrics, complete with foot stomps in all the right places, then left behind his mic to approach the audience and conduct us to sing along with Kanene and Brian, to end the song, and the night, on the perfect note. The rest of the band members joined Zach at the front of the stage to say goodnight and take a much-deserved bow. And then it was over. Until the next time.
Finally, I believe we have written before that meeting other fans has been one of the best parts of our “The Lone Bellow adventure,” but I feel compelled to mention it again. There is something about The Lone Bellow that inspires devotion from some truly wonderful people, and I am grateful to meet them at almost every show. Perhaps it has something to do with waiting in line for doors to open, or sticking around after the show to say hello and thanks to the band, that facilitates these encounters, as it is likely the most serious fans who are willing to do these things, especially in lousy weather (I’m having flashbacks to Portland, ME, at 3degrees F!). So we often start chatting, and these fellow fans are always so lovely and interesting. Sometimes we keep in touch after the shows, sometimes we don’t, but I am always grateful for that sense of community we share. And I love the friends we have made on this journey, and look forward to making many more in the shows ahead.
Dave Abare, who writes over at his blog Rambling Abare, got in touch with us to share his review of The Lone Bellow's show at House of Independents in Asbury Park, NJ, last week. It was his first time seeing the band perform live, and his reaction was just what you would expect. He writes, "The singer/songwriter Marc Cohn has a line in his hit 'Walking in Memphis' where he answers a woman asking if he's a Christian where he replies, 'M'am I am tonight' and that's how you feel experiencing The Lone Bellow in a live setting. They aren't a 'Christian band' nor do the majority of their lyrics talk a lot about God but when you're in their presence, hearing them perform and taking in the majesty of the moment, you're a believer in whatever they are preaching."
You can read his entire review here. Thanks for sharing with us, Dave! We'll see you in Northampton!
One of my favorite things about being an extreme Lone Bellow fan is meeting other extreme Lone Bellow fans, and making connections with people I wouldn’t normally have had the chance to know. One such fan is Skip, who we have now run into at many shows spanning both coasts, despite us all living on the East Coast!
Skip was at the Pittsburgh show this past Tuesday, and graciously agreed to write a recap of the happy hour that night, and share photos from happy hour and the show.
Is a happy hour still happy hour if booze is not being served? In the case of The Lone Bellow at The Rex Theatre on Tuesday night in Pittsburgh, the answer is always yes! Serving host to an enthusiastic crowd of a dozen fans Zach, Brian, Kanene, Justin and Jason shared tails of TLB history, favorite fall movies and serenaded the crowd with classics and always fun to hear, new tunes. Plus it turned out to Brian Elmquist’s birthday which meant a hearty and loud Happy Birthday would be sung later in the evening.
We are back in Boston after having visited Seattle in order to see another Lone Bellow show, which is apparently the only reason we travel anymore. If you've been with us for a while then you know that this isn't even ridiculous for us. You will also know that what follows is unadulterated gushing. We can't help it. This band just keeps amazing us.
For this show, we decided to splurge on the "Happy Hour with The Lone Bellow" package, and it proved to be well worth it. The band performed a small, acoustic set interspersed with a Q & A with the audience, which was probably no greater than 25 people. It was a perfect start to the evening, and also a great reminder that these guys genuinely love their fans.
When we returned for the main show, we were completely impressed by opener, Hugh Masterson. This was our first time seeing him, but it will definitely not be our last. Although he was without his band for this performance, his set was solid, he told good jokes, and he was more than capable of giving a strong solo performance.
Anderson East followed, and he and his band mates were fantastic. They did exactly what an opening band should do: make great music and energize the crowd. We weren't quite sure of what to expect of this band, and we ended up being pleasantly surprised.
When TLB took the stage, the crowd was more than ready. They opened with "I Let You Go," and we were instantly in our happy place. They played for just under two hours, and as usual there were plenty of surprises. Some of our favorite moments were:
We were happy to learn that this show was being streamed by the Melodic Caring Project. MCP is a non-profit organization whose goal is to share music with children who are hospitalized. TLB made sure to acknowledge this, and throughout the evening they dedicated different songs to the kids who were watching.
We have less than a month before we get to see them three times in one week! And don't be surprised if we manage to squeeze in one more somewhere along their tour- after all, between the two of us, we have plenty of friends around the country!
We always love hearing from other fans, and recently John James left a wonderfully detailed comment/recap on a previous post after seeing The Lone Bellow perform at Whelan's in Dublin last week. We wanted to share it more prominently on our site.
Assessing a gig experience is difficult, because it can be subject to all sorts of external factors, which are all about you and not the band; context is everything.
Thank you, John James, for this wonderful recap.
The Lone Bellow headed across the Atlantic last week, and took Ireland and England by storm.
On Wednesday afternoon, the band stopped in to the studio of The Louise Duffy Show. You can listen to the interview and performance of "You Never Need Nobody" here.
That night, they played a sold out show at Whelan's in Dublin.
The band played at London's 100 Club on Thursday and Friday nights.
The band finished up their trip across the Atlantic with performances at the Cambridge Folk Festival on Saturday and Sunday.
Earlier this week Bobbie and some mutual friends of ours made a trip to Boston's Brighton Music Hall to see a Fantastic Negrito performance. I, unfortunately, was unable to attend, but in getting some details of the show, I was reminded of how incredible it is to be able to see a show at Brighton Music Hall. It's a great little venue.
This week we purchased tickets to two more recently announced Lone Bellow shows (Boston and South Burlington), and we already have tickets for their Seattle and one of their NYC shows. (There's nothing so great as knowing you have some Lone Bellow concerts in your near future!) After these concerts, we will both be into the twenties as far as the number of times we've seen them. We may have to stop counting, which is not a bad problem to have!
It was over two years ago that we first entered Brighton Music Hall, having no idea what we were in for. (You can read more about that here.) I found this video from that night of "You Never Need Nobody" and was reminded of just how much they impressed us from the get-go. We are a little sad that we most likely won't get to see them in that space again, but are grateful for every chance we do get to see them, no matter where it happens to be.
We can't wait! We'll be heading to the Burlington, VT show, and of course Boston!
Well, ok, I guess it's technically a Tuesday roundup. We are trying to get back on top of this site, as The Lone Bellow has some very busy months ahead, and we want to share all the info we can about them.
They had a particularly busy weekend, playing at festivals each day, Friday-Sunday. But they also did a couple of smaller shows in the days before.
On Wednesday, they performed an intimate show at the Renaissance Hotel in D.C. as part of the hotel's Signature Global Music Experience. We so wish we could have been there.
You can read more about the show and see more pictures here.
On Thursday, the band kicked off Newport Folk Festival with Watkins Family Hour at the Pickens Theater, along with Fiona Apple, Hiss Golden Messenger, and Joe Pug.
Now for the festivals...
First up was Newport Folk Festival in Newport, RI. I broke down and, despite my dislike of festivals, went to see them, so I'll have a recap of the show posted here in the next couple of days. NPR recorded their set, and you can listen to it here:
NPR Music's Rachel Horn wrote, "The Lone Bellow's Newport Folk set was powerful and practiced, but the trio also kept up an air of joyous spontaneity by bringing a stream of special guests onstage: The horn players of the New Breed Brass Band added punch to "Then Came The Morning" and "The One You Should've Let Go," Sara Watkins popped in for a fiddle solo, and both Leon Bridges and the women of Lucius added their voices at different points during the performance."
And Adam Kissick took some great photos of the show for NPR that you can view with the article.
On Saturday, they played the WayHome Music and Arts Festival in Barrie, Ontario.
And finally, they wrapped up their weekend on Sunday at XPoNential Festival in Camden, NJ.
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.