It really is the little things in life. When you find out that a band you love is touring with another band you love. When you find out that they’re coming to your city. When you find out that those tickets are only 10$ and they’re playing in a small venue. Finally, when you go to the show and wonder, after the opener finishes, if they might actually steal the show.
Tuesday night, I was in attendance for The Lone Bellow/Ivan & Alyosha co-headlining tour. I knew exactly what I was getting into, having heard that both bands are better in person, The Lone Bellow with more power and emotion and even tighter harmonies and Ivan & Alyosha with music as crisp live as it is on a record and a sound and maturity that defies the short time they’ve been together. Everything that I heard was true and I still wasn’t prepared for what I was hearing.
The first thing that I heard was Twin Forks, a band that I was very impressed with and really look forward to hearing more from. They’ve adopted the newly popular male-female, guitar-mandolin-bass setup and they’re doing it very well. There’s an honesty and clarity in their lyrics that’s unexpected in a band so new. I was particularly impressed by their ability to cover The Flaming Lips and then play a song that sounded a lot like an Irish drinking song next. That song, “Scraping Up The Pieces”, is an incredible song and one I found myself unable to not dance to. (It should be noted that not until the next day did I find out that the front man for Twin Forks is Chris Carrabba of Dashboard Confessional.)
The Lone Bellow soon took the stage for their sound check which they joked through, told stories about family members from the area, being confronted by a man with cocaine all over his face, and proceeded to sing “Back At One” by Brian McKnight (better than the original). They played almost every song from the new, self-titled debut, beginning with “You Can Be All Kinds Of Emotional”. They have an incredible ability to project and convey emotion in their songs and in their faces when they sing and you really feel their music in person. From the line “I’m the only one you should smile for” in “You Never Need Nobody” to the twang of “You Don’t Love Me Like You Used To”, it’s incredible to close your eyes and feel these songs.
Ivan & Alyosha closed the show and did an amazing job of keeping everyone engaged and moving throughout their set. Their tight and pitch perfect sound carries over effortlessly to the stage. They were able to turn the tempo up and down with ease and genuinely enjoyed interacting with the crowd. They also were responsible for the high point of the show, inviting the other two bands up to join them for “I Don’t Wanna Die Anymore” and “Be Your Man”. These two songs with dozens of vocalists and percussionists turned into amazing anthems and experiences that could only have happened with these bands together.