100 Shows of 2010 - #76: The Love Language/Lost In The Trees/Pomegranates @ Black Cat, 10/12/10

There are bands I’ve seen once and been quite happy to leave at that. There are bands, however, that happen to require frequent live observation. Bands that you can’t get enough of. Bands that you could see night in and night out and still crave more. I just so happen to have seen not one, not two, but three of this variety of band on one bill. Lucky, no? The bands in question? The Love Language, Lost In The Trees, and Pomegranates. Or, as you might wish to refer to them, Amazing, Amazing, and Amazing.

MINI RECAP: Pomegranates = Adorably Perfect! Lost In The Trees = Lovely Terrificness! The Love Language = Loves Of My Life! Overall score: A

When last I saw Pomegranates, they were playing a late late late show at a small boutique in the middle of Richmond. It’s been a while, and the band is definitely moving up in the world (and deservedly so). Their sound is even better than I had remembered, luscious and rich, playful and exuberant. The music this band makes is totally adorable, like the band themselves, yet with a subtle air of sophistication creeping in. It’s poptastic, yet they can put the pedal to the metal at a moment’s notice, squashing the fluff in favor of feverish noise. I adore the sort of dreaminess in their music, giving it a lighter-then-air feeling at times. And oh yeah. That smoke machine? Cutest thing ever. I picked up on some hints of the early years of The Verve in some of their songs, and y’all know that equates to winner winner chicken dinner in my book. However, for all their swirling lull, they can get the ole hips a-swayin’ no problem. They’re a lively bunch, those Pomegranates, and they are utterly, totally, ever-so completely delightful. Closing with a kickily rollicking rendition of “Everybody Come Outside”, the band shut it down on a high note. I had all but forgotten how splendid a live band they were, but believe you me I won’t be forgetting that again.

It was then time for the mysterious sandwich band with whom I was totally unfamiliar. Friends, that was a major oversight on my part. North Carolinians Lost In The Trees were intriguing, beguiling, and plenty of other –ings too. This massively nebulous conglomeration won me over immediately. I mean, who doesn’t love a band that starts their set in the middle of the crowd? And things only got better from there. The band is in possession of a slightly mysterious and spooky kinda sound, somewhat in the vein of the glorious Devotchka, but with more of that down home Southern thang goin’ on. They’ve got brass and they’ve got strings, but they are neither brassy nor stringy. Instead, they hover somewhere in the realms of haunting and enchanting, with a plaintive quality to their beautiful earthiness. To quoth my friend Bill, himself a North Carolina resident, there’s definitely something very cinematic to their music, being as expansive and grand as it can be. This music would have made a perfect accompaniment to my drive home from North Carolina a few weekends back, what with the glow of the sun hitting the turning leaves just so against a gentle blue sky. So very pretty. And so very highly recommended.

And on came The Love Language. When last I saw them, I was hithering and thithering with abandon down at SXSW 2009, and didn’t get to appreciate a full Love Language set. But tonight, on lead LL man Stuart McLamb’s birthday, that was put to right. And it was a superb little set, I assure you. After a slight delay for some birthday shots, McLamb & co. began to play, and I began to swoon. They somehow managed to sound even better than I had hoped, casting a spell with their sugar-coated heartbreak and all around loveliness. As the band played on, I couldn’t help my mind from wandering to the thought that North Carolina is a hotbed of good music possibly on par with the big boys of New York, LA, and Austin. I really am still processing just how very good they were. My one complaint about the set was that I wanted to hear more old stuff, but then, I’m just silly sometimes. But of course, hearing the jingle jangle swamp rock of “Lalita” quickly put everything right. As did this entire evening.

All I can say, ladies and gentlemen, is that these three bands are worth your time, and your eternal love and affection. I know they’ve all got mine.

mp3: 50's (Pomegranates from the forthcoming One Of Us)

mp3: Heart To Tell (The Love Language from Libraries)


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