Friday, April 12, 2013

a night in bobtown

Thank God for parkour. Earlier this week I heard of a concert that was really tempting. I wanted to go.

But it wasn't going to happen. I've been a workaholic recently -- one of the reasons I've been blogging so sparsely. I have a lot to get done for work, and this week has been particularly tough for me. Tuesday I had to make a presentation at work. I may blog about it since it was about music, but I may not since it was about music about the company and I'll have to remove so much that any interesting aspects will be lost. Anyway, I lost a full day of my "real" work to that. And a half day on Wednesday taking my youngest to the dentist. So despite wanting to go see this show, I probably would have missed it.

But I lucked out and was saved from myself. The kids wanted to go to a Friday parkour class. It just so happens that the class was near the venue (a library in Long Beach) and it staretd at the same time. So we all went out. My wife driopped me off at the library and went off to parkour with the kids.

I can't stress enough how glad I am that this worked out. The band was a five-piece called "Bobtown." According to the introduction, Bobtown was originally an acapella group that Katherine Etzel put together as a vehicle for her field hollers. She learned that artform working on farms in Iowa. The band is different now -- for starters, it's not acapella. But there is a heavy emphasis on vocal styling  - they feature some of the most haunting vocal harmonies I can recall hearing. The style can best be described as eclectic. There are songs that sound like gospel with an appalachian flavor. At one point they sounded like Motown with banjoes. And there was one song, "Resurrection Mary," that sounded like an Andrews Sisters number. Oh, and I loved their cover of Blue Oyster Cult's "Don't Fear the Reaper." For another cover (though not one they performed at this particular show), follow the following link (which, for some reason, I can'tr seem to embed in this post):

One thing that I found interesting was the visual aspect of the band. Ther's no big drum kit. There was plenty of percussion -- spoons, a triangle. And Etzel herself was playing a small drum, and had a small suitcase rigged up for use as a kick drum. Interesting.

My big regret? They were on Kickstarter about a year ago. See their plea video:

I wish I'd known. For a $500 pledge, they would record a cover version of a song of your choosing. Did the pledger have the option of choosing a song he or she wrote? That's an option I would have loved to go with -- similar to my donation to Wreckless Eric's and Amy Rigby's Kickstarter campaign. Or for $501, the pledger gets the cover version and an appearance in one of their videos. Too late. Maybe there'll be another campaign for their next album?

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