2012 SpokesBUZZ CD Release Party (Part 2)

As I mentioned in my previous post, it is usually less tiring for me if I am at shows where I am familiar with the bands already. Maybe this is just part of being an introvert, but in any case. I was glad to see in the line-up for the SpokesBUZZ Cd Release Party this year the bands Constitution and The Lindsey O’Brien Band. Both of these bands played at the second of the Bandswap shows I attended earlier this year, so I saw them for the second time at the CD Release Party. By December 13, I had even met half of the guys who play in Constitution, though at a shows where they play with different bands. I had managed to not just photograph, but actually sample the snacks (chips & salsa, cheese cubes, cookies, berries and melon balls) on the bar before these sets, too, which probably helped. I wish more of the shows I photograph had snacks like that for me to nibble while working.

The Artists, Continued

Constitution

Stylistically, Turn 4 and Constitution go well together, as similar Americana bands. Constitution has a wider variety of instruments, though, and with their upright bass and mandolin, they can bring more of a bluegrass flavor to their music. Their music incorporates other instruments as well, making use of a horn section every so often, which puts them a bit outside standard country, bluegrass and Americana. I suppose most of the time these guys can settle into some variation of the ‘modern country’ genre, but unless I really need to box up bands in genres, I prefer to just put them in the ‘bands with mandolin-players’ category and the ‘bands that play great original songs’ category and leave it at that. Actually these guys play some great covers, too, but I’m always more impressed by original songs, especially if they sound as solid as the covers.

Actually, Matt Mahern, the lead vocalist, sounds like someone out of classic country, maybe a Colorado variant on Kenny Rogers, and with his facial hair grown in he could blend in nicely with the 80’s country scene. This is not a bad thing, because these guys play far better music than the stuff my mom used to subject us to in the 80’s. There are only 3 songs on their reverbnation page, and no additional tracks on their facebook page, so to hear more Constitution tunes, for now, one would have to see them in concert. I know they know more than 3 songs, because I’ve heard them play more than just those 3 songs. They have quite a bit more range, too, style-wise, than the 3 songs on their reverbnation page might suggest. Hopefully they do a great job of announcing their next live shows, when they come out of hibernation(aka the studio).

Constitution’s bassist, Ben, plays bass for Mama Lenny and the Remedy, and Darren plays drums for Turn 4 and mandolin for Highway 287, in addition to playing mandolin and banjo for Constitution. Their dobro (resonator guitar commonly played with a slide) player, Ansel Foxley, while not someone I’ve actually met yet, is also a familiar face, as he plays with HWY 287 as well (and with the Patti Fiasco, a band I’ve not seen yet). So, even if I had not started attending SpokesBUZZ events, I would almost certainly have had to see Constitution eventually. It’s a fun memory game trying to keep track of all the bands some of these musicians perform in, but so long as they are all as good as the ones I’ve seen, they are forgiven for making my brain go all mushy at times trying to keep them all straight. Constitution, btw, is working on new music this winter, towards a new album, so hopefully next year there will be some exciting news from these guys once their album is ready for its adoring public.

The Lindsey O’Brien Band

I’ve actually seen this band 3 times now, since not only were they at the Sunday Bandswap show, but they also played at the Fortoberfest festival. Lindsey is one of the two women in the current Spokesbuzz class. This is especially amusing because the organization is run by several women, so no doubt it was somewhat accidental that they have so few ladies in their bands this year. Then again, almost all my favorite musicians and actors are men, because I am a woman, so maybe it’s not such an accident. I’m sure, in any case, that the class of 2013 will have a few more ladies. In the meantime, Lindsey is one lady fully capable of representing women to the music world as impressive musicians and entertainers on par with the fellows. She also happens to be very nice in person, which as I’ve mentioned before is a huge boost for any band with respect to my opinions of their shows and music.

Lindsey O’Brien and her band play a cool modern sort of jazz/blues infused heavy pop/rock. Some of their stuff reminds me a bit of Camille O’Sullivan, Regina Spektor, or Poe, but blended nicely with a bit of Garbage, No Doubt, a bit of Ugly Kid Joe, … You get the picture. They have plenty of edge and attitude, executed by a small brass section, and a band full of excellent musicians who skirt the edges of country, rock, pop, hip-hop, blues and jazz. Lindsey’s singing style can jump from smooth and sexy to edgy rock to bouncier pop or hip-hop percussiveness, all in one song if desired. “Eclectic pop/rock’ might be a decent genre label, but only because it is a broad catch-all for most types of creative genre-defying tunes.

This band has been around for years, so apparently their style has struck a chord with enough fans locally and elsewhere to keep them going as a band. By the time they got to the stage there were quite a few new faces in the crowd, too, fans specifically of this band. But despite all this local fame, their (only?) album, As Long as It Matters, was released way back in 2008, so while I don’t remember if they said anything about a new one, they ought to be due for one in the next few months/years. In the meantime, from the look of their facebook page, it would seem that this band, too, is in hibernation for the winter now.

Post Paradise

The 6th band of the night at the SpokesBUZZ CD Release Party had a longer set-up time, as in longer than the 5 minutes between each of the other bands. During their set-up, I got myself a nice fizzy soda from the bar, and the crowd watched a music video of Post Paradise. Then we got to see their show, with all the elaborate lights the video promised. I wished all night that I had a better camera, but even so, I got some fun shots during this set. I’ve met two of the guys in this band, though they were just members of the audience then, so I had not heard their music prior to the CD Release Party. Really I ought to start collecting autographs, whether I care much for autographs or not, because when they become hugely famous I can point to my autograph collection and say “I met those two guys at Avo’s back in 2012 when we shared a table at a concert there.” Beware, all my musician friends who read my posts- before November I had not been into autographs, but now that I have some from all my favorite Celtic Thunder singers, I may very well need more autographs. You may be next. 🙂

Post Paradise happens to have the other woman in the SpokesBUZZ class of 2012, cellist Amy Morgan. I’m sure many of the cellists and upright bassists imagine themselves to be bad-ass enough to have streams of brilliant light radiating from them as they play- at least from their expressions sometimes, I suspect that they are imagining such a phenomenon. In Amy’s case, with the help of some fancy stage lights, that fantasy becomes the reality. The poor drummer, on the other hand, never had a light on his face throughout the entire set, though occasionally a light would blink on at the downbeats of one of their songs, illuminating the shiny drums. The drummer is even a new guy, added to the band this Fall, so I have no idea what he looks like, even though I was there at the show. And while the bassist was up front and visible, he didn’t get quite the same superstar lights behind him, perhaps in part because the spots where the lights would have been standing were too cluttered (or maybe there is just something special about cellists in rock bands). You can be sure I’ll be pointing my camera at the drummer and the bassist, a lot, at Road 34, or whenever I see this band next.

Of all the bands in the show, Post Paradise sounds the most mainstream & commercial, and not just because of their fancy lights and music video. These guys would blend in well with some of the contemporary alternative rock music that has settled into the mainstream, and no doubt if they happen to release just the right single with just the right hook, they’ll be on their way to national and international recognition. They do have an album out, The New Normal, which made it onto one of my recent weekly playlists. In the meantime they play a lot of shows in Colorado, including one at Road 34 on January 18. Their tshirts are gorgeous, and their music is easily good enough to justify wearing tshirts with this band’s name on them, even if they weren’t such pretty designs. I particularly liked the design with the sheet music in the artwork(no doubt due to the artwork on their album cover), but there were a few others I’d have in my collection as well. As I said, I’ll be putting myself on a budget if I make it to their Jan 18 show with The Echo Chamber.

Post Paradise video, “What You Made Me”

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About Ravenmount

Independent science nerd/writer/music blogger/arts enthusiast/theorist currently in Colorado.
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