Monday, October 03, 2005

Earlimart w/ Richard Swift and the Sons of National Freedom @ Schuba's - 10/2/2005

It really doesn't seem like there's that much to review, really. It was just a few months ago that Earlimart came to Schubas with Okkervil River. Last night's show was pretty much more of the same, with a similar setlist. They threw in a couple of new tracks, and there was maybe one more that I couldn't recognize, but I don't know if it was new or not. Which isn't to say the show wasn't fantastic. It was. Normally a three piece act, they brought along another guitarist/bassist, and a full time keyboard player. That didn't keep the lovely and talented Arianna Murray from moving back and forth between bass and keyboards. She was looking quite fetching, with hair that seemed a bit blonder than the the last time. And speaking of hair, I almost didn't recognize Aaron Espinoza at first, his hair a little longer than the last time.

Richard Swift kicked off the night, playing a couple of solo tunes at the piano. The crowd was pretty sparse, but it was a Sunday night. While I wasn't expecting a big crowd, I was expecting a little more than we got. Swift was recommended to me by cupie and yeswecan over at Halo's Heaven, and he didn't disappoint. Some classic troubador fare, but this guy really has a terrific voice. Kind of reminded me of Rufus Wainwright at times. After the first couple of songs, a backing band who I can only assume were the Sons of National Freedom took the stage and turned the set into a rollicking good time. Swift did a couple more alone before the band retook the stage to finish off the set. Talked to him after the show and he seemed like a pretty good guy. I'm still listening to his album, but so far so good.

Earlimart followed with a set that included the following:
  • First Instant, Last Report
  • The Hidden Track
  • We Drink on the Job
  • The Movies
  • Sounds
  • All They Ever Do is Talk
  • Unintentional Tape Manipulations
  • Heaven Adores You
  • Broke the Furniture
  • A Bell and a Whistle (they closed with this one)
It seems like they played more than that, so maybe they did. That's about 13 or 14 songs, though, so no complaints. Pretty fun evening. At one point Espinoza spilled his beer, which coincidentally led right into "We Drink on the Job". At one point he solicited for a sleigh bell player for "Broke the Furniture". I guess I could have gone up there. I was only about 8 feet from the stage, which was more or less the front row because of the small crowd. But honestly, no one wants to see another guy up there, so the girl in front of me finally volunteered her friend. Speaking of "Broke the Furniture", it's really an indictment of country music that bands who aren't country can write better country songs than bands who are country. I'm thinking not only of this one, but Gone for Good by the Shins as well.

This is a band that you really need to listen to, because they're really good. I'm pretty sure you can still stream their album from their website, so you have no excuse not to. But it's not enough just to listen. You need to see them live if the opportunity presents itself, because in person, it's just so much better. All of those little parts that make you say "man, that would sound better if it were way louder," well, they're way louder, and more intense. Lots of energy, and ultimately lots of fun.

I'm guessing they'll probably take some time off and record, but hopefully they'll be back before too long.

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