[ATTENDED: March 10, 2017] Strand of Oaks
Back in December I saw Strand of Oaks at Boot and Saddle. It was just Tim Showalter and Jason Anderson and they were great. It was very intimate, it was the third night of a three night stint and everyone was loose and having fun.
At the show, they were selling tickets this March appearance at Union Transfer–which was going to be the whole band. So I decided to get a ticket that night, for a good comparison.
While waiting for the band to come on, I wound up talking to a bunch of people who were huge fans. I found out that his previous keyboardist was Eliza Hardy Jones who has since gone solo rather successfully–she was evidently at XPNFest last year, when we were there. One lady told me that the last time she saw Strand of Oaks, Showalter stage dove right where she was standing (which is where I was standing). The guy she was with said that last time he saw them, they opened with “Cinnamon Girl,” and they talked about how this was a hometown show and he would go all out–especially since the venue was far more filled than the previous time.
This put my expectation level pretty high–unfairly so.
For when the show was over (at a pretty early 11:30) I was a little disappointed because none of those things happened. He was less chatty and fun than in Boot & Saddle (which makes sense since that place holds 300 people and this one holds about 1,500), but he wasn’t crazy over the top, either–no stage diving.
But having unfairly high expectations does not diminish that it was a great show–and a very fun contrast to the previous one. Since the previous show was fairly quiet, it was great to hear both him and Anderson really rock out on solos and jams. And the band was really tight and in great form. They even threw in some jams, extending songs out for a long time.
I was standing more or less in front of Anderson, and I really got to see him do some great solos. He also makes some cool atmospheric sounds while Showalter is wailing. In the picture on the right, he slid his hand up the neck creating harmonics as he went.
But of course, all eyes were on Showalter (in his groovy shirt). And I was close enough to finally get a picture of one of his big tattoos (left). He was pretty happy and told us how pleased he was to see us and how excited he was at the turn out (he is always quite effusive). It was always nice to see him look up from his guitar with a big smile on his face.
But before Showalter came out, the rest of the band did. They started jamming a rocking instrumental. And after a minute or two Showalter came out and joined in on the jam. And it was dramatically different from the Boot & Saddle show.
The band consisted of Mike Sneeringer on drums–you can see him in a couple of the pictures below. I actually can’t find the bassist’s name anywhere (there’s surprisingly little information online about his band–a lot about him, but not the other guys). I was only able to get one good picture of the bassist (a number of tall guys there), but it’s below.
I also cannot find a setlist online anywhere, which is disappointing (I couldn’t find one from the other show either–whats up with that?). Most of the songs were from the band’s new album which I don’t know that well yet, so I’m not exactly sure what they played.
I know they played something before “Taking Acid and Talking to My Brother” because I remember him introducing that. On record the song is about 9 minutes so it was pretty surprised that they’d play it. They really stretched it out with some great solos from both Anderson and Showalter.
One of my favorite moments happened somewhere around here, when Showalter walked over to Anderson and leaned on him while they were playing. And then he kissed Anderson before walking back to his microphone.
They played a rocking version of the new singe “Radio Kids” and we all sang along.
They mellowed things out with the title track from the previous album, Heal. And another quieter song, “Shut In.”
And then suddenly they were heading off for an encore. When they came back out Tim said he was going to bring out his new friend John. This proved to be John from Baroness.
They opened the encore with a long, jamming version of “JM.” They whole tone of the song was different–a little slower and with a different melody for “I had your sweet tunes to play section.” But it was a good jam, with everybody getting multiple solos. I enjoyed the way they communicated with each other, with Baizley getting a few bars, and then Anderson playing one.
It was quite a surprise that Baizley stayed out for the final song “Goshen 97.” The crowd went nuts for this song–justifiably. Baizley sang a verse and did some solos. It was a pretty spectacular ending.
So, yes, was a little surprised that the show ended so early–I assumed he’d play really long for the home town crowd–especially after the shows at Boot & Saddle. But the music sounded great and the band was a treat to watch.
- intro jam
- Salt Brothers*
- Taking Acid and Talking to My Brother
- Radio Kids
- On the Hill*
- The Rest of It*
- Goshen ’97