Sunday, July 24, 2011

Back to Bloomington

I went back to the town of my Alma Mater, Bloomington, Indiana, for the first time in about three months last weekend. The reason for my return? A show by two of my new favorite artists in the town. Kurt Vile and Woods co-headlined a show at Russian Recording.

My first duty upon getting into town, however, was to pay a visit to some of the friends still living there. I first met up with the wife of one of my best friends from high school (he would have been there, too, but he stepped out and wasn't back before I had to leave). I then spent some time with a more recent friend, with whom I enjoyed a rousing game of Scattergories (which I was winning!)

The perfect pre-cursor to a night of great music.

It was then time to head to the venue. Although I spent five and half years in this town, I had never heard of Russian Recording. I was worried I would walk right past it, but found the little house on South Walnut where the studio is located easily enough. The location was obviously set up as a recording studio initially. The studio and home feel to the place made the show very intimate.

First up was Woods, a band whose album, At Echo Lake, I became mildly obsessed with earlier this year and released a great follow-up, Sun & Shade, only last month. Their performance was very true to their recordings, but they did jam out a bit more on stage. One of the members, G. Lucas Crane, used headphones as a modified microphone to create some of the interesting ethereal sub-sounds present in their records. Some things you just wouldn't guess until you saw them!

"Pushing Onlys"

Kurt Vile was the next act, also putting on a great performance. I did take issue a bit with the balance of his set. Although his music is heavy on guitar and it was a small venue, his vocals seemed to get lost. He does have an amazing backing band, though. They all kind of look like him, with long hair hanging over their eyes. The drummer performed with one stick and his hands, which I thought as pretty awesome. Unfortunately, I was unable to stay his entire set. The more people came into the venue, the stuffier it got. It reached the point where I could barely continue to stand. Sadly, I stopped enjoying the show and needed to leave. I'm sure the rest of the set was amazing, though.

"Jesus Fever"

It was the start of a great weekend, which I will talk about more later. It's always fun to discover something new in a familiar place!

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