Months ago I saw Pearl and the Beard, a band Tori introduced me to, was playing at SPACE. I immediately bought tickets and secured the front and center table. Life is good.
The show was tonight. Sadly, Tori ended up having CA commitments and couldn’t make it to the show, but Rachel, Charlotte, Zoe and I went. Rachel was intrigued by the warm-up band, Midnight Moxie, but actually the warm-up to the warm-up was better.
The first warm-up was Abigail Stauffer, a singer-songwriter from Michigan. Her voice is truly beautiful. It was basically just her and an acoustic guitar although she did bring one of her friends up on stage to play a washboard as percussion for a couple of songs.
The real standouts from her set were “Beloved,” “College, Love And Cheesecake,” as well as a gorgeous cover of “Hallelujah.”
Midnight Moxie, is an all girl Chicago-based doo-wop rock trio. Their songs have pretty clever lyrics and they have a fun stage presence, but the performance lacked a little polish. I also suspect they may have been having some monitor issues so they might not have been able to hear themselves, which might have messed with some of their harmonies. I bought their CD and will definitely give it a listen because I think the band has a a lot of potential in a controlled setting.
The crowd was so pumped for Pearl and the Beard. The amount of noise made when they took the stage was incredible.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with Pearl and the Beard I highly recommend you check them out. They have a unique and varied sound, from the upbeat “Voice in My Throat,” to the somewhat rockous “Oh Death,” to the slower more plaintive “Mistakes.” Pearl and the Beard is Jocelyn Mackenzie, Emily Hope Price, and Jeremy Styles. All three musicians sing, and many of their songs are built around complex harmonies. Jeremy plays guitar, Jocelyn plays the drums, and Emily makes her cello laugh, cry, and sing. Until I saw the band live I had no idea how integral the cello was to their sound.
This is a great band to see in concert because they talk. A lot. They talk to each other on stage, and have a great rapport. The girls occasionally gang up on Jeremy, but he takes it in stride and his humor is self-deprecating. They also talk to the audience, telling anecdotes, and responding to the occasional comment. When they first came on stage the audience roared and Jocelyn, who was still setting things up, turned and looked out at the crowd and said, “Wait for it. We haven’t even done anything yet!”
Near the end of the show, a joke got started where someone from the audience called out that they could basically play anything, including the phone book, and everyone would love it. A while later, Emily said they only had time for two more songs, and someone in the back yelled, “Phone book!” Without missing a beat, Emily started singing a very dramatic version of the ABCs accompanied by her cello, while Jeremy pretended to chug his gin and tonic.
The band played a lot of louder upbeat numbers, but wasn’t afraid to pull it back and do some of their quieter stuff. Jeremy stepped forward, away from his mike, and played a song essentially unplugged. The audience hushed to listen and the experience was very intimate.
The fans were enthusiastic, and the request for an encore was loud and genuine. The response was so positive that Emily actually got a little choked up, confessing that even after all this time, every time they play she’s so nervous no one will come, and telling the fans how much the band loves them and appreciates their support.
All in all, a wonderful evening. Good company. Fantastic Band(s). SPACE was, as always, the perfect venue for this type of concert: small enough to be intimate, professional enough that the bands sound great. Two thumbs up, and definitely check out Pearl and the Beard if they come your way.