Monday, July 14, 2014

Loamlands show off sharpened set at the Cat's Cradle back room

Photos by Justin Weber
After a nearly two-month tour opening for bands Mirah and The Mountain Goats, Loamlands had a homecoming at the Cat’s Cradle back room with friends Skylar Gudasz and The Dead Tongues.

Skylar Gudasz began the night with six song set that showed off her voice. The singer/songwriter started out on guitar and moved to piano, but the instruments were clearly secondary to her rich vocals. The sparse songs (presumably from her upcoming full length album, Oleander) showcased her talents as a singer, but the songs themselves wouldn’t be as interesting in the hands of another performer.

That changed when Josh Moore joined Gudasz on stage for a duet on “Car Song.” The harmonies and the incredibly slow tempo create a current that’s easy to get swept up in.

Ryan Gustafson used the night as a opportunity to debut some new songs with The Dead Tongues, first solo and then with the full band. His band this night was a six piece that included Josh Moore on guitar and backing vocals as well as James Wallace on the piano, keyboard, and back up vocals.

The Dead Tongues line up has never been consistent outside of Gustafson which gives live performances a rough edge and this night was no different. This isn’t a polished live band, but the members of it are incredibly talented. In a way, this creates more excitement as each performance is unique.

The additions of Moore and Wallace helped make the set memorable. Wallace unexpectedly took several organ solo up an octave and brilliantly improvised during the many jam sections. These were welcome twists that created some cool moments unique to the performance.

To finish the night, Loamlands treated the hometown audience to set they’ve been performing as an opener on the road. The eight-song set has been honed and sharpened to a level that makes it obvious this band has come a long way. Will Hackney’s guitar lines are precise and cutting. Their sound is huge and clear led by Kym Register’s voice, which seems to be gaining more power every time they perform.

Previous Loamlands performances have left me thinking a lot about the southern rock that inspired these songs, but Saturday’s show didn’t. The music hasn’t changed, but the amount of confidence and precision the band is playing with (as well as the amount of fun they’re having) left me thinking about how this band has come into their own and started to rise above their inspirations.

Dead Tongues set list
New Song: The Girl Inside Of People Everywhere
Call Out To Me
No Intention
New Song
Road To Heaven
The Harbor
The Desert
New Song

Loamlands set list
Another Reason
Baby I’m Running
Something New
Folk Hero
Restless One
Hear Me Now
Can’t Tell
Get Ready

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