The band plays a wonderful mix of over the top chamber prog rock mixed with healthy doses of jazz.
There are seven people in the band, which is centered around guitarist and (amazing) vocalist Liam McCormick. Their instruments include violin, cello, upright bass, flute, trombone, drums, and guitar but this band rocks hard (and McCormick can wail like the best of them).
The set begins with the jaw dropping “Beneath The Brine” which opens with a great cello riff and is quickly accompanied by violin and flute. When the full band kicks in, grace notes are added to the riffs to really fill out he song (from the flute and the drums) and it builds until Liam starts singing. His voice is powerful and strong with a great sense of melody. The drums, by the way are playing wonderful jazzy patterns and accents. But it’s around 2:30 that Liam shows just what he can do with his voice as he hits some amazingly powerful high notes. As the song romps to an end, you can hear all of the instruments adding to the music before the final quite coda. It’s fantastic.
“Howl” is inspired by jazz. Liam was trained in opera (which explains a lot) and the band is full of classical fans, so he was excited to add Charlie the jazz drummer “hey man wanna listen to Miles David and drink whiskey?” The song opens with a big trombone riff before settling into a snappy jazz song. This song has a number of loud and quiet moments that work well together. It’s even got a great “ba ba ba ba ba ba” section that is fun to sing along with.
They ask “one more?” And Bob says “or stay all day.” So they play the final song, “Make Me a Boat.” If you can forgive the little GoPro ad, it’s neat that this relatively unknown band has been embraced by the camera company. “Make Me a Boat” doesn’t seem like the most obvious choice for a video since the beginning is kind of slow, bit the middle section is really pretty and has a great flowing feel that would work well with a video. And in this live version Liam does some great improv singing of powerful high notes that really flesh out the melody which the rest of the is playing (no wonder he’s so sweaty by the end).
The album fleshes out the orchestral sense of the band with a 30 piece orchestra which makes these songs even more grand. The Family Crest was a great find.
[READ: February 22, 2016] “Letting Go”
Sedaris is one of the funniest writers when the topic is smoking. He is (or was, I suppose) and inveterate smoker.
And I love that he starts the essay with this paragraph:
When I was in fourth grade, my class took a field trip to the American Tobacco plant in nearby Durham, NC. There we witnessed the making of cigarettes and were given free packs to take home to our parents. I tell people this and they ask me how old I am, thinking, I guess, that I went to the world’s first elementary school.
He starts this essay talking about how much he hated smoking when he was a kid. His mother smoked all her life and he just hated it. Not the smoke so much but the smell–he found it depressing “the scent of neglect.”
Of course then he started smoking himself. He talks about trying to decide which brand to use–the brand you chose was a statement back then. He chose Viceroy. And he started smoking them when he was in Vancouver.
Once he started smoking, his father was appalled (his father had given up many years ago) but his mother was delighted because now she had something to put in his Christmas stocking and Easter basket.
He says that once smokers started getting cordoned off, non smokers would act superior “Still think its’ cool?” But he says it was never about being cool. Cigarettes were calming and they tasted good.
And he smoked a lot.
“When New York banned smoking in the workplace, I quite working. When it was banned in restaurants, I stopped eating out and when the price of cigarettes hit seven dollars a pack, I gathered all my stuff together and went to France.”
He talks about how she started smoking Kools and about all his relatives who have died from lung cancer. And then he talks about his last cigarette on January 3, 2007 with a great coda to how a person can be “finished with smoking.”
This is an enjoyable essay whatever your feelings about smoking.