This very past weekend, I went to an awesome concert. Awesome because it not only featured 2 bands that were good, but also because it was in a library. That’s right. Music–amps and everything–in the LIBRARY.
First, lemme s’plain about the library. This concert was part of a nationwide programme called ‘Get it Loud in Libraries’. If you’re in the UK, you might have heard of it, and if you haven’t–check your local and see if they have anything on. Tickets are usually under a tenner, and SO worth it. Bands that have played have either already been popular or gone on to BE popular–bands like Florence+The Machine, Bat for Lashes, Everything Everything, and Juliette Lewis and The Licks. Its a great way to see great bands in a small venue.
Featured at this particular concert was the great band Smoke Fairies (check out their website), who were supported by Sea of Bees (check out their website). Interesting, because though their music was fairly similar, the bands are from opposite sides of the Atlantic Ocean; the Fairies hailing from Chichester, England, and the Sea of Bees coming all the way over from California.
Admittedly, I’m horrible at describing music, or placing it in one genre or another. The best I can come up with on my own is that Smoke Fairies are folky-harmonic-rock with the occasional slide guitar, which loans it an American bluesy twang at times. Obviously, that observation isn’t too informative–so let me pass along some reviews given by more talented people. Here is the NME review of the Smoke Fairies album ‘Through Low Light and Trees’, by Rob Webb:
Here, the pair are more spirit than flesh; they haunt mid-Western prairies at night, appearing from the ether to strum guitars at bewildered passers-by, who stand transfixed as their otherworldly harmonies emanate from high above. Back in reality, ‘Through Low Light And Trees’ reminds us of Midnight Movies (anyone?), or perhaps an acoustic School Of Seven Bells – with healthy lashings of classic folk, -style, and a twist of the blues. At times, it’s too lovely and woozy for its own good – but when the mood sours, as on standouts ‘Devil In My Mind’ and ‘Erie Lackawanna’, it’s really rather intoxicating stuff.
Ok, so maybe my description wasn’t too far off.
Listening to the album reviewed above is great, but seeing them live gives the music such energy and a POW factor that can’t be beat. I’m sure that’s true with most bands. Smoke Fairies seemed really into their music, and also really down to earth at the same time. Some of their songs seemed haunting, other’s rocked, and besides all that there was a peacefulness in the harmonies the 2 front women provided. The also peppered their set with easy banter and colourful anecdotes.
Sea of Bees–I’d never heard of them before. I say them, because the other night there were 2 ladies on stage. However, the main lady of Sea of Bees is Julie B, or Julie Baezinger. Sea of Bees’ music has been described by Chris Martins of Spin Magazine as having:
… an impeccable knack for infusing despair with charm. Her pain is the loveless kind, and she conveys it in a voice equal parts twang and coo, backed by lush country-folk and gossamer bedroom haze. “Skinnybone” sounds like it takes place inside of a music box; “Marmalade” in dense woods on a moonless night. A quick dip into glitch seems like a novice move, but all that slide guitar and glockenspiel give Sea of Bees a seasoned sorrow.
Julie’s voice was the kind that first rocks you as peaceful, than passionate, then powerful. She sings with a kind of smoothness and grace that many singers can only aspire too. Its natural, beautiful talent. The only drawback from the singing, was Julie B’s insistence on talking and explaining all of her songs. While this can be interesting from time to time, her explanations were rather long-winded and not so easy to understand. My husband thought she was Dutch by the way she was speaking…even though she had an obvious North American accent.
All in all–a great evening…in a LIBRARY, listening to 2 new bands that I look forward to hearing in the future!
Check them out for yourself! These are some of my favourites from the night!
Smoke Fairies- ‘Living With Ghosts’
Sea of Bees- ‘The Woods’