by Holli Stephens
The North Star Bar’s “starry” appearance stands from its other building counterparts on the corner of 26th and Popular. Around back you’ll find the doors to the stage area’s poster lined walls and stairs to a balcony that create a snug atmosphere for music enthusiasts to come and hear their favorite artists perform. Friday featured a very folk influenced night with the bands Like Crazy, Seryn, and Twin Forks.
From the first opener Like Crazy, I became aware that I wasn’t entirely in my element. Though I listen to a wide variety of music, the vibe I was getting off all of the performers was a little too country for anything that I am used to seeing. I’m not sure if that will create a bias in my write-up, but I tried to appreciate the musicianship among the acts.
The energy was not totally all there for Like Crazy’s performance. Though I snuck in a few songs before the end of their set, I was able to still see that the duo of Greg Pearse and Chelsea Orcutt was your generic indie pop group. Orcutt’s voice got lost over Pearse’s guitar licks and the result was somewhat muddy.
There are discrepancies in hearing Seryn in a live setting compared to hearing their recordings. The six-piece looked smushed on the small stage which also muffled their overall sound. Tracks like “Disappear” which are calm on recordings until they got to these tremendous buildups, seemed to find no climax in the bar’s small venue space. The musicians were intriguing to watch as they played more uncommon instruments like violin, ukulele, and trumpet and kept a consistent energy throughout their hour set. I always appreciate a multi-talented band and during songs the members of Seryn would go into a frenzy of switching instruments. As I looked around me, audience members began to start grooving to the beat of the drum and I too found myself swaying back and forth.
The sound level was perfect for the five-piece folk rock group Twin Forks. I was astonished to learn earlier that day that Dashboard Confessional’s lead singer, Chris Carrabba was the front-man of the group. The tattoo adorned Carrabba is quite the musician as he also sings in Further Seems Forever, an indie band formed in 1998.
Coming off a new self-titled album release in February, Twin Forks was all smiles as they graced the crowd with songs “Something We Just Know”, “Back to You, and “Can’t Be Broken”. At one point early in the set Carrabba told the crowd to stretch out so they would be prepared for the rest of the performance. Originally from Boca Raton, Florida Twin Forks is composed of Kimmy and Kelsie Baronoski who dabbled on the mandolin, tambourine and vocals, Jonathon Clark on bass, and Ben Homola on drums.
If I had known about the balcony area earlier, I would’ve reserved a spot as you were able to see all the excitement on stage happen. For most of Twin Fork’s set I was on the floor level and unless you were in the front four rows, seeing the musicians was impossible. Twin Forks dominated the evening and their music was energized, but reserved- a quality that all well-rounded bands possess. Groups of superfans shouted out and the band fed off of the now immense energy of the crowd.
For a style of music that I’m not too familiar with, I’m pleased that I was able to experience a show out of my comfort zone and enjoy myself.