January 30 2013
It's always hard when there are two great shows in one night. This happened to me last Friday night when Sera Cahoone was playing at the Riverwest Public House and local band, The Delphines, were playing over at Quarters. Unfortunately, I missed Sera Cahoone’s set, but luckily got to see a handful of other acts at both venues.
I started my night off with a beer and folk musician Thomas Kivi over at the Public House; it looked it was going to be a long night. A bar setting for a folk musician is always a hard one to surpass, especially on a Friday night when everyone is ready to swallow as much beer as possible and talk loudly to all of their friends. Sitting at the bar it was hard to hear Kivi's lyrics, although the sound of his guitar and harmonica were apparent at the back of the bar. As a folk musician myself, I find it hard to play solo in a bar without the backing of a band. Kivi didn't seem to notice that no one was paying attention to his music. If he was playing in a coffee shop or had a band backing him I think more people would have listened more intently. I would love to see him in a different setting, where I could actually enjoy the music without the typical Friday night distractions.
After Kivi finished, The Milwaukee band Lady Cannon came on the stage with a cello and drum kit. Don't let Martha Cannon's small frame fool you, because her voice boomed throughout the entire bar. After one song, people started to come closer to the stage and drank in her heartbreak lyrics and finger-picking guitar. I've seen Lady Cannon acoustic before and, with the setting she was playing in Friday, the full band worked a lot better. The last song I saw before heading over to Quarters was a Felice Brothers’ cover. I can't remember the name of the song, but Martha Cannon did a fantastic job. With her banjo falling off the strap in the middle of the song she really made it her own. If I hadn't known it was a Felice Brothers song, I would have bought her album right away. She did justice to covering a song and putting her own stamp on it.
At this point, it was almost 11:30 and Is/Is, a Minneapolis band on tour, was going to be playing at Quarters soon. I rushed out of the Public House and headed two blocks over, where I caught the last song. I wish I had been able to see more of their set. It was a unique setup with three members made up of two girls and a guy on drums. The bass line was one of the catchiest I've heard in a while and made me want to buy their LP. Since they were on tour from Minneapolis, I grabbed one.
Closing Quarters was rock n’ roll band The Delphines. I've been meaning to catch them for a while, after seeing on Facebook that they'll be opening for Deerhoof at Lincoln Hall in Chicago in a few months. I'm glad I made it in time for their set. Lead singer Jami Eaton's vocals are charismatic without seeming too dreamy, while guitarist/singer Harrison Colby adds his low harmonies to hers. The short catchy songs combined surf rock and modern rock. The strangest thing I noticed about their set up was the drummer stands having only two snare drums. I didn't think this would work very well, yet it succeeded by bringing their sound out more.
By the time the Delphines were done playing, it was 1 in the morning and I'd heard from a friend that Sera Cahoone had been long and gone playing. While a part of me is sad I missed her set, I'm glad I finally got to catch the Delphines. Lady Cannon also made the night worth it, since I had been awake for almost twenty-four hours at that point.