June 17, 2013

Reviewed: The Lone Bellow, Swear & Shake, Ballroom Thieves

The Sinclair, Cambridge, MA
Photo by Alexandre de Veiga
The other night at The Sinclair, the folk music revival was on full display. Three bands, all acoustically focused, jammed their hearts out and gave us their unique takes on the lively folk music that has been slowly taking over the world. 

First up: The Ballroom Thieves. A local group, the band knew how awesome it was to get this opening slot. The room was packed early as everyone had the pleasure of seeing undoubtedly one of the most exciting Boston bands yet to break out of the local scene. The trio seemed to fit in a niche between The Lumineers and City and Colour, meshing rootsy fun with a tattooed, slightly more rocking style that didn't come off as fake. 

Next: Swear & Shake. Undoubtedly the least unique of the groups, that doesn't mean they weren't a bunch of fun! Very similar to Ivan & Alyosha, the dapper quartet threw in some fiery electric guitar licks on top of their twangy folky jams. Frontwoman Kari Spieler gave the show her all, coming out from behind her huge hair to let loose a powerful voice that was unexpected from such an innocent face. 

Finally: The Lone Bellow. What everyone had been waiting for. The trio, backed on bass and drums, wows consistently with their confessional lyrics, superb chemistry, and unreal harmonies. Luckily they managed to play my favorites: "You Never Need Nobody" and guitarist Brian Elmquist's track "Watch Over Us". A moment of hilarity came when they started a new song; all the members started differently. "Sorry, we have too many songs that sound the same," frontman Zach Williams quipped. It's true, they have an easily identifiable sound. But their career has just begun, and I am eager to see how they evolve musically. There seemed to be no debate in the crowd where these guys are headed. It will be hard to see them for a mere $15 ever again. 

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