March 9, 2013

Ivan & Alyosha, Live review (with Arc Life, Dana Falconberry)

 (photo: Live Letters)

Last Wednesday, I was invited to see Ivan & Alyosha, a self described "indie-rock, folk-pop, indie-pop" quintet from Seattle, Washington.  Being that the majority of the new music I come across sits a little further from center than a band like Ivan & Alyosha, I hadn't heard of them until I received the invitation.

They had a laundry list of accolades from a variety of reliable sources, and I liked the song in their newest video, so I decided to take my best friend out for the night and hit up the Hi-Dive, a venue which rarely disappoints.

Terminally early, I found myself at the Hi-Dive roughly an hour before the music started. As the crowd formed around me, the people-watching portion of the evening began.  It great to see so many people so excited, unironically, for a show, that there were "whoops" and "yahoos" well prior to the first band even taking the stage. Denver is an excitable town, true, but it was ready for a show.

Arc Life, a newly formed local super-group-of-sorts, with Denver's own man-about-town Ben Desoto, and, I believe, Jesse Elliott and Anna Morsett from These United States.  They did a sort of Van Morrison meets Mid-2000's alt-country/indie rock set that more than proved that, if they stick it out, they're bound to become a Denver staple in matter of months.  They currently have no online presence, so, I guess, just keep your eyes peeled for posters with their name on it.  By the end of the year, it'll probably be the one on the top.

Second was Austin, Tx's Dana Falconberry and her band.  Another alt-country style set, this time peppered with Dirty Projectors style backing vocals; staccato rhythms backing up more poppy, driven melodies.  They forgo DP's adventurousness and head straight for nostalgia inducing, saccharine sweet lead vocals.  Not precisely taking a page out of the Smithsonian Anthology of American Folk Music, their folk leanings tending more toward more recent incarnations, their knowledge of how to use the lessons learned over a hundred years ago doesn't go unnoticed.  The played my best friend's favorite set that night.

Ivan & Alyosha were the last to take the stage.  The bar emptied, filling the floor as the five fellas took the stage.  A few quick "hello's" later, guitars clutched at the ready, they started casting their spell on the Hi-Dive.  People started going crazy around me.  Stomping along, spilling drinks, echoing the words emanating from the stage.  It wasn't a frenzy so much as it was a controlled, internal burst of excitement shining through. While not precisely my kind of thing, their charming smiles and enthusiastic performance of charging poppy rock songs would be more than enough to grasp the attention of anyone with ears.

The Hi-Dive continued running on internal combustion power well into the night, the energy finally dissipating once the Ivan & Alyosha played their final song.  With large straight pearly-whites, they bid us a good night, and immediately entered the crowd, greeting their adoring fans, giving each of them much more than the time of day.

Walking to my car, I reflected on the show.  Music is a funny thing.  The same sounds that can mildly enthuse a person can drive another person to tears.  There were people going through the whole range of emotions at the show that night.  It's an encouraging thing, that.  I was glad to see a room so filled with so many happy people having a dang good time.  If Ivan & Alyosha makes music that you think you'd like to see live, I'd have to say I witnessed more than a few testimonials in favor of you doing just that.  They're on tour for a few more months.  Maybe they're coming to your town:

Mar 09    The Prophet Bar - Dallas, TX
Mar 10    Lustre Pearl - Austin, TX
Mar 11    Whole Foods - Austin, TX
Mar 12    The Hype Hotel - Austin, TX 
Mar 14    Papa Tinos - Austin, TX 
Mar 16    Ten Oak - Austin, TX  
Mar 17    The Green Room - Flagstaff, AZ
Mar 18    Soda Bar And Lounge - San Diego, CA
Mar 19    The Echo - Los Angeles, CA
Mar 20    Brick & Mortar Music Hall - San Francisco, CA
Mar 22    Sophia's Thai Kitchen - Davis, CA
Mar 23    sam bonds garage - Eugene, OR
Mar 24    Bunk Bar - Portland, OR
Apr 03    Neurolux Lounge - Boise, ID
Apr 04    Kilby Court - Salt Lake City, UT
Apr 06    Barleycorn's - Wichita, KS
Apr 07    Firebird - St Louis, MO
Apr 08    A Schwab Downtown - Memphis, TN
Apr 09    One Eyed Jacks - New Orleans, LA
Apr 10    Alabama Music Box - Mobile, AL
Apr 11    Bottletree Cafe - Birmingham, AL
Apr 12    The High Watt - Nashville, TN
Apr 13    JJ Bohemia - Chattanooga, TN
Apr 14    Emerald Lounge - Asheville, NC
Apr 15    Strange Matter - Richmond, VA
Apr 16    Johnny Brenda's - Philadelphia, PA
Apr 17    DC9 - Washington, DC
Apr 18    Santos Party House - New York, NY
Apr 20    Brighton Music Hall - Boston, MA
Apr 21    Cafe Dekcuf - Ottawa, Canada
Apr 22    The Drake - Toronto, Canada
Apr 23    The Club at Stage AE - Pittsburgh, PA
Apr 24    The Basement - Columbus, OH
Apr 25    Mayday - Cincinnati, OH
Apr 26    Radio Radio - Indianapolis, IN
Apr 27    Schubas Tavern - Chicago, IL
Apr 28    The Frequency - Madison, WI
Apr 29    7th Street Entry - Minneapolis, MN
Apr 30    Pyramid Cabaret - Winnipeg, Canada
May 02    AMIGOS CANTINA - Saskatoon, Canada
May 03    Pawn Shop - Edmonton, Canada
May 04    The Hi Fi Club - Calgary, Canada
May 05    Carrs corner - Spokane, WA
May 06    Caff√® Mela - Wenatchee, WA
May 07    The Wild Buffalo -Bellingham, WA
May 09    The Media Club - Vancouver, Canada

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