REVIEW: Graham Colton at the Ark

If you have never been to the Ark before, the best word to describe it is intimate. Upon entering you are guided upstairs by the sound of indie music, to a room that you would almost expect to be used for art house movie screenings than concerts.

As Cumulus singer Alex Niedzialkowski (even Graham Colton didn’t dare attempt to pronounce that last name) put it, the Ark was like a “classroom.” Cushioned chairs filled the back while coffee tables adorned the front—in other words, not the proper conditions for standing and jumping to the beat.

It is a rare treat to attend a concert where the opening band is as good as the headliner. Cumulus, a band from Seattle, was one of those cases. Indie-pop at its best, Cumulus combined meaningful and heartfelt lyrics with the kind of bittersweet melodies you would find in films like 500 Days of Summer.

Alex’s voice is slightly reminiscent of Regina Spektor: her words have the same enchanting feeling that would make me love the music even if she was only singing the alphabet. Luckily, that wasn’t the case.

Most important of all, Cumulus had a memorable character. As an emcee, Alex was exactly the kind of endearingly awkward you might expect from an indie artist who writes deep lyrics. Unlike many bands that simply play through their set and leave, Cumulus spoke to the audience, added emotion to their playing, and overall proved to be a fantastic opening band.

After a brief intermission, in which I purchased Cumulus’ album despite mistakenly listing the wrong zip code for my credit card and had to start the process all over again, Graham Colton took the stage.

Graham is the kind of artist comfortable to be on stage. He makes comments freely, such as telling the audience they helped themselves to a bottle of celebratory alcohol before the show, or the fact that he repeated his name in case anyone “stumbled in from outside.”

Every song rocked with energy. Between songs Graham encouraged the audience to stand, and by the end of the concert most of the room was indeed standing. It was hard not to: Graham spent his time dancing or jumping on the stage, snarky comments by the bassist made everyone chuckle, and a fellow singer-songwriter in the band that was probably equally as talented as Graham.

Songs from Lonely Ones certainly had a more aggressive, electric sound. Taking 18 months off to reinvent himself seemed to work. Yet, even his earlier stuff was as good as it has always been.

Check out Graham Colton. Check out Cumulus. And if you have never been to the Ark before, do it!
Graham Colton

Graham Colton

Phillip Wachowiak

I am a graduate student studying physiology. In addition to science, I love to do things with cameras