I sat down to write this review and realized I didn’t even know how to begin.
I pulled out my notebook, normally filled to the brim with detailed notes about each song. But this time, my notes were sparse, the specifics absent.
That’s the effect this show had on me.
The Quiet Hollers and Mo Lowda and the Humble — two little-known and criminally underrated indie bands — served as dual headliners. Both played for about an hour, and unlike some other groups I’ve seen at The Ark, they didn’t do a lot of talking in between songs in their set. Instead, they let the music speak for itself.
“This is a song you can dance to,” the lead singer of The Quiet Hollers said while introducing his song Medicine. “It’s about panic disorder.”
That sentence was a good summation of their set. The band’s lyrics referenced social issues — toxic masculinity, the prison-industrial complex — and mental illness. But their sound was loud and full. Their instruments were typical of those used in a rock band, except for one thing: they had a violinist.
The violin added depth to many of their numbers, and its parts were often the highlight of their numbers for me. The unique acoustics of The Ark only added to the experience.
Watching Mo Lowda and the Humble was like watching a jam session. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a band get more physically into their music. So it’s no surprise that their instrumental breaks were the highlight of their set. They also varied the vibe of their songs — playing something louder and harder one minute, and a more mellow, acoustic piece the next. The variation added depth to their show. Not all bands can make both loud and soft stuff work; Mo Lowda and the Humble could.
Normally, this is the place where I’d describe my favorite songs from both sets or where I’d do in-depth analysis on their structure or lyricism. But that’s the thing. I enjoyed the show so much that the idea that I had to write down the details slipped my mind. By the time I realized, it was too late. I can’t tell you why I enjoyed each part of the set, only that I did. That I enjoyed it so much, I neglected my duties as a reviewer.
The thing about music is that it’s easy to get lost in it. Sometimes I sit down fully intending to do homework, but I make the mistake of putting on a good song first. I get wrapped up in the harmonies and carried away by the melodies. And when it’s live, that effect is only magnified. I was sitting there for two and a half hours, my sole job to watch this concert and review it. Take some notes. Remember which songs I liked. But I forgot what music does, and I got lost.
And that’s the best compliment I could give.