by Brittney Corridean
The dim lit stage at Johnny Brenda’s was decorated in sheer bead curtains with green and red lights shining through, giving some sort of mystic prism effect to the rest of the room. Most of the audience stood patiently and quietly waiting for the show to start while more fans trickled in and found a spot with a good view. Playing that night was S. Carey and Califone: two different sounds that still reflected one another and created a velvety goodness that lasted throughout the night.
S. Carey, (noted for his work as drummer/vocalist for Bon Iver) really showed his versatile skills as a musician. The four person band really flowed together with their soft sound and swift percussion. Carey’s ambidextrous self actually played the keyboard with his left hand and simultaneously the drum with his right; I’ve never seen anything like it. He continuously jumped from keyboards to a set of tom drums during the whole set and had another full-set drummer on stage as well; the sound they created together was mind blowing. For those who are fans of strong percussion, this band will undoubtedly impress you. All their songs leading up to the climax really allowed the music to move you.
During the performance, Carey was playing with such force at one point that he actually split a drumstick and it went flying in the air. Fans jumped to grab the pieces of the ground which is a great memento to have from any performance. Toward the end of the set, they gave praise to Califone and expressed they were very happy to be there. Carey also went around and introduced each band member individually which gave it a more intimate feel. They closed with “Fire Scene” off of their latest album, Range of Light.
Once S. Carey and company exited the stage, the waiting time for Califone to take over was very brief. The set started with just frontman Tim Rutili playing his acoustic guitar slowly and gradually growing louder. What was interesting is he got up there and started to play so slyly that he went undetected by half the audience. Califone opened up with “Fisherman’s Wife” and after that, the rest of the band came on stage to join him during the first applause.
Some songs that the band played throughout the show were “All My Friends Are Funeral Singers” and “Movie Music Kills a Kiss”. It’s hard to put a distinct finger on the sound that comes out of this band. There’s a lot going on with each member, but what comes out is splendid. Rutili himself had a small collection of guitars on stage next to him and put each one to good use. The guitars varied from steel slides to some mild distortion. They also had a wide range of sound effects that the drummer had some fun with throughout the show.
In the middle, Rutili told a story about he was in Cleveland this past January and had panic attack right before performing. Oddly enough, he seemed very comfortable telling a story some others might want to keep to themselves and he even made light of it by cracking jokes. In all of his stories Rutili shared, you could see that he is thoughtful and reflective, which probably gives way to the metaphoric and haunting lyrics that he creates.
The band played for almost a two hour set and Rutili even stated that once they get up there and start playing, they lose track and don’t know when to stop (showing how easy it is to get lost in our true passions). They closed the night by thanking the audience profusely and saying they would be selling the merchandise themselves, which gave fans a chance to talk to members directly. Even though they are a quiet band, the music they create gives way to a larger, more thought provoking sound that makes the listener really want to be thoughtful within themselves.