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Archive for the ‘The Family Crest’ Category

[ATTENDED: May 10, 2016] The Family Crest

The Family Crest are a seven-piece band with horns, strings, guitar, keys and great vocals–mostly courtesy of Liam McCormick–but the backing vocalists are pretty awesome too.

I first saw them on a Tiny Desk Concert and they blew me away–watching McCormick wail “Beneath the Brine” gave me (and still gives me) chills.  I followed them on social media and they sent out Christmas postcards to everyone on their mailing list, which I thought was really cool.

So when I heard they were coming to Philly (and at Boot and Saddle no less), I knew I had to go.

I’ve said a lot about the intimacy of Boot & Saddle from previous shows, but this one was especially fun because when I went up to the merch table to check out their goods, keyboardist Laura Bergmann was the one selling the merch.  I also discovered that they had out an older EP that I didn’t know about, so that was cool.

The band came on stage and while everyone was warming up, McCormick came through the audience to the stage–no back room, so they just walk through the crowd. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: May 10, 2016] OhBree

I was really excited to see The Family Crest and to see that they were playing at Boot & Saddle (how would they fit a 8 piece band up there, I wondered).  I hadn’t heard of OhBree before this show, so I looked them up and discovered they are a Philly band also with 8 people (!) who play a wonderfully weird blend of punk with horns (but not ska) and super catchy rocking melodies.  All supporting some pretty peculiar (and often amusing) lyrics.

The band is made up of Andrew Scott – Songwriting/Keys/Guitar/Bass/Vocals ;  Adam Laub – Drums/Synthesizer/Vocals ; Bob Iacono – Trumpet ; Tyler Mack – Guitar/Bass/Trombone ; Kyle Press – Bari/Tenor Saxophone ; Vince Tampio – Mellophone/Trumpet/Slide Trumpet ; Lucas Kozinski – Guitar ; Connor Przybyszewski – Trombone

And they all crammed into that tiny Boot & Saddle stage which they had never played at before (a surprise given their Philly roots). (more…)

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may5SOUNDTRACK: THE FAMILY CREST-Tiny Desk Concert #379 (August 4, 2014).

familycerstI first heard The Family Crest on this Tiny Desk Concert back in 2014 and I immediately fell in love with them.  I received their album for Christmas, and it’s quite fantastic.

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. (more…)

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