REVIEW: Horse Feathers at the Blind Pig


Last night I attended the Horse Feathers concert at the Blind Pig, featuring opening band River Whyless.  Both bands have a similar folksy, indie sound.  River Whyless I was less familiar with.  In one of the last songs, one of the violinists took her bow in her mouth so that she could knock on the wood of her violin to the beat.  Their songs were upbeat and a nice opener.

At one point, someone from the audience shouted, “Killer Jam!” and one of the band members responded with a laugh.  “Killer Jam?  That has to be a first.”  “Maybe ‘gentle jam’ but never ‘killer jam’.”  Gentle jam is an accurate description of the type of music Horse Feathers make.  Two of the band members kept interchanging between different instruments from acoustic guitar to banjo to instruments I am not knowledgeable enough to name (small banjo perhaps?).  One of the parts I was looking forward to most was listening to the fiddle music live.  Watching them dance and move around stage with their instruments made for a fun experience.  It thought it was really great how thankful the lead vocalist was during the show.  All the songs were very familiar to me, so I enjoyed staying for the whole performance.  It was a nice way to unwind at the end a day with listless vocals and tender tunes from Horse Feathers.  Their music always makes me feel really comfortable with life.

If you pay attention to the lyrics I often mind the tone of the words to be more somber than expected, only to be lulled by the gentleness of the sound.  One of my favorite songs:

Lover of things,
won’t you agree
how the winter could bring
the darkest spring?

With hell on your face,
dirt on the walls
in the back of the place,
you grew and complained.

Father of three,
won’t you believe,
that the ones in between,
the ones that are blamed.

Of fickle faith,
cynics that seethe,
how their children are cursed,
cursed to believe.

It’s like marrow without bone.
To live in a house with no home.
Where the son is the darkest seed.
He crawls with the curs in the weeds.

Where had you been son?
Not in the street, not in the yard.

Only once, I’ll call off the dogs, if you call off your guard.

Where had you gone?
Where had you been?

Lyrics credit to Horse Feathers.

Link to the video for their song ‘Curs in the Weeds’:

REVIEW: Craft Spells w/The Bilinda Butchers and Gosh Pith


Craft Spells (above).  Photo credit: Daniel Dorsa.

The show last Wednesday night at the Blind Pig featured the bands Craft Spells, and had two bands opening for them: The Bilinda Butchers and Gosh Pith.  Initially, the venue was pretty empty.  The first band was one I had not heard of, and apparently it was not too well known around Ann Arbor either.  It turns out the first band, Gosh Pith, is based in Detroit.  I found it interesting looking up their bio later that the two member band had formed by happen-chance somehow in Paris, and while the story was interesting, the music itself was not.  I found it hard to enjoy the electronic beats and intermittent vocals, which probably would have been better if not for the technical problems they experienced trying to find a balance between the different sounds.

The next band to play was The Bilinda Butchers.  They come from San Francisco, and got a lot more enthusiasm from the audience when they stepped up.   Their songs were familiar and the more upbeat dream pop songs were more popular.  Unfortunately, the sound technology was still malfunctioning and though the band attempted to fix the sound problem between songs, they were never able to quite get it.  The Bilinda Butchers feature a delicate, more ethereal vocal lead and though it was audible, it was drowned out by the percussion at times.  It was nice to see that some of the members of the next band, Craft Spells, were standing at the front of the stage swaying along with the music and cheering them on.

Finally Craft Spells came on stage and by this time the main floor was pretty packed.  The band set up immediately and started playing some of their more popular songs like “After the Moment” and “Nausea”.  Their songs are a lot less poppy than The Bilinda Butchers, but they have a fuller sound with more waves of electronic and synth.  It was pretty to listen to and as the final band to play, it was a nice way to enjoy and wind down.  Overall, it was one of the more patchy performances I’ve seen at The Blind Pig, but I found that the sounds of the bands complimented each other nicely.

REVIEW: Knox Hamilton at the Blind Pig

What do you get when you bring a band from Little Rock to the Blind Pig on a Tuesday night? Catchy music and a great excuse to avoid the week’s workload.

Knox Hamilton is rare in two cases: not only are they a three man alternative rock band with a full sound, they also toured on the strength of a single song “Work it Out.” That is correct, you can only listen to and/or buy one of their songs.

For some bands, you might shrug and move on to the next Taylor Swift single, but Knox is one of the best bands I’ve seen at the Blind Pig. Not only did they joke around with the confidence of a more mature band, but their music was downright full of energy. Their EP should be dropping sometime in March and this is one collection of music I highly recommend purchasing.

Knox HamiltonUnder the trippy blue-red glow of the Blind Pig’s lights, we stood for a little less than an hour as the band played through its entire set. It was disappointing because their sound was infectious, and even better, there was only 1 filler song for the entire hour.

Knox Hamilton said they would return to Ann Arbor in the future and I fully recommend seeing them in concert.

Even better, they are active Twitter users: @KnoxHamilton



PREVIEW: Knox Hamilton @ The Blind Pig

Knox Hamilton is a new Indie-Alternative band straight out of Little Rock, Arkansas. As they describe themselves: “Fueled by the similar staples within their collective musical taste, the members of Knox Hamilton blend laid back guitar riffs and catchy bass lines with rhythmic drum beats and soaring vocals to produce a sound that’s as likely to make you want to visit the beach as it is to move your feet.”

Does that sound fun? Based on their single “Work it Out,” it should be awesome.

Where: Ann Arbor’s The Blind Pig
When: January 20th @ 8 pm
How: Walk, bike, or row your boat on over!
Cost: $12

You can follow them on Twitter: @knoxhamilton

And check out their web site here!

REVIEW: Kate Voegele

Wednesday night’s cold weather gave Kate Voegele fans the perfect opportunity to gather in the intimate space of the Blind Pig for the singer’s latest tour stop, which she made in promotion of her new EP, The Wild Card.  The latest in a collection that includes two other extended plays and three studio albums, the release provided some long-awaited new material to a fan following that dates back to her time on the hit show One Tree Hill from 2008 to 2011.

The show started off strong with her charismatic opening act, Briar Rabbit, a singer-songwriter and Michigan native who made his start in Bloomfield Hills.  His acoustic set consisted of lyrically dense pieces about love, loss, and self-confidence, relatable themes that struck a chord with many in the audience who were being introduced to him for the first time.  On full display along with his lyrical talent was his charm, as he filled the gaps between songs with stories, jokes, and appeals to the audience to show their support.  The best example of this was two songs into his set, when he pulled out a clipboard and jokingly said he had forgotten to give his email list to the person working merch in the back.  He asked the people in the front to pass it back towards the back of the room, and if anyone wanted to put their name on the email list while they were at it, well that would be just fine.  Humorous moments like this were small gems set between emotionally compelling songs that set the tone for Voegele, who came on to an already excited crowd.

Kate Voegele entered the stage and started off with a song from her new EP, her smooth voice and acoustic pop sound setting the pace for the entire show.  Giving fans who know her well from One Tree Hill a taste of the past, she mixed older songs into her set, including hit singles that she performed while on the show.  These were the pieces that set the crowd wild, as many fans in the audience were twenty-somethings who grew up with her music and character.  One of the most popular of this group is Only Fooling Myself, a song Voegele won a song-writing award for in 2005, prior to performing it as Mia Catalano upon joining the OTL cast. Among her new songs, one of my favorites was Ooh La La, an upbeat love song that seemed to set the crowd into dance mode.  Another favorite off of her new release was a cover of the recent hit Cups from Pitch Perfect, which Voegele slowed down and put a ballad spin on.

The overall successful performance of Voegele at the end of the night saw one small hiccup that fortunately doesn’t eclipse her performance.  As the concert began winding down and she got ready to leave the stage, the crowd cheered for an encore, and she was more than happy to oblige.  There was just one problem – the song that she had prepared as an encore was not the song that the audience begged for.  Back in 2008, she released a cover of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah, an acoustic performance that quickly rose to fan-favorite status. Several fans screamed for her to perform it as the crowd cheered for an encore, but though she took the encore in a different direction, her final song seemed to do the job and cap off a fun night.