Here’s something I don’t think I’ve done on this blog ever, if not for a long time – a live concert review! I have around 15 concerts lined up for the month of September and I thought it’d be interesting to chronicle my journey throughout the month to write about how the shows were and to gauge how my morale goes throughout the marathon. I feel like this is the most shows I’ve ever been to in one month, so I wonder how I’ll feel by the end of it. Feeling good now, anyways!
Anyhow, Rachel Baiman and Nathan Xander kicked everything off at Union Pool, a venue in Williamsburg. I’m somewhat familiar with Baiman’s music in a somewhat peculiar way – we attended a fiddle camp in Colorado together, all the way back in 2008! I recognized her name when I was looking at upcoming shows last month and decided it’d be good to revisit my roots of good ole Americana and country music, which is exactly what I was treated to.
I only caught the last two songs from Nathan Xander and his band, but it was still real solid and the audience was definitely comprised of highly supportive fans, some of whom became nuisances later on. As someone who doesn’t frequent bars too often, it’s always interesting to me to observe boozebags slump around a bar on a weeknight. I digress.
Baiman sang and switched between violin, guitar & banjo. Her band was comprised of a guitar player & an upright bass player, both of whom had Australian (or Kiwi) accents. The two band players have a band of their own and two times they took the driver’s seat during the show, performing their own material while Baiman played back up on fiddle. I love that about small folk acts – the fact that the rest of the band is likely in another band or has another project, so they bring their own music to the table in a live setting. So inclusive! Can’t not love that.
As a whole, the band played a lovely set of tunes that definitely enraptured the crowd at Union Pool that night. Most songs featured triple vocal harmonies between the band, which were picked up nicely on their retro, stand-up microphone. These were real old-timey songs, but they didn’t feel out of place in this hyper-modern and “cutting-edge” time we live in in 2017. There was a song with a chorus of “fascists, you’re gonna lose” which she got the crowd to sing along with, as well as one about female choice and agency. Of course there were songs about love and loss and all that like normal, but it’s always fun to hear a classic formula put to use in a different context.
After the show I waited to talk to her to re-introduce myself and bond over ~~fiddle camp memories~~ and had to wait for a bit there. Nothing more awkward in my book than being that guy at a show that’s floating around and trying to casually look back and check, waiting to talk to a performer. She did in fact remember me and we briefly caught up on the almost 10 year gap. Not much to say – she’s professionally playing music & I’m out of high school (and college, at that), living in NYC. I’m really glad a decent amount of people showed up – it seemed like not many would before the show. A concert on a Thursday night with a blooming Americana/country band. But people were there! It wasn’t the thinnest show I’ve seen at Union Pool, lemme put it that way.
After day one, morale is good! If anything that got me even more stoked to see more bands of varying sounds. Tonight (Friday, Sept. 8) I’m seeing Diet Cig, a power pop band that’s sure to carry a completely different energy than this one did. Thanks for reading & make sure to keep reading these goofy things as my streak progresses!