Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Faraway Places at Silver Lake Lounge (7/8/09)

I was anxious to see The Faraway Places at Silver Lake Lounge on Wednesday, July 8, 2009 since I'd seen them open for Avi Buffalo during their residency back in May. I picked up their CD, Out of the Rain, the Thunder & the Lightning, and became a big fan based on the this terrific recording filled with a variety of well written, nicely produced songs.

It always happens when I see a band, cold, knowing nothing more than maybe a myspace sampling, and, live, the band just grabs my full attention. If they have a CD for sale I buy it and quietly go home to digest it. I was very impressed and waited impatiently for their nest gig.

It's always a challenge when I get to know a band this way, because you wonder if they actually sounded as good live as the recording. When they started, the songs sounded different and less focused. But when they got to the third song, which included an extended jam, the whole set suddenly sprang to life. At once the band jelled and the whole bar perked up and everyone was paying attention.

The set turned from fair to excellent in the space of about 30 seconds. The longer the jam went on the more beautiful it became. I could have listened to just that for an hour. Chris Colthart writes intricate indie pop songs that have surprisingly clever lyrics and Donna Cappola (at right) provides solid keyboard work while adding just the right vocal harmony to every song (or tambourine).

Out of the Rain, the Thunder & the Lightning is a CD bound to compete for a spot on my year end best list and they sang most of the best songs from that album. "You Can Cry" and "Still Be There" were given solid renditions, but when they sang "Keep It Alive", dropping a beat from the original structure, the song became something completely different than the recorded version and had an 'edge-of-the-seat' quality leaving you wondering if it would break down. It didn't. It left me breathless.

My favorite song of theirs, so far, is "Run While True", even though it isn't completely typical of their style. It's more moody and contemplative, but dredges up sudden emotion and images with lyrics like "I'm taking down some fences, need to see open spaces, hidden places, that they never told me about" A real sense of longing that's palpable.

The Faraway Places are definitely a band to watch and I will see them again, and often. I was invited by Rebecca Balin to see the headliner, The Monthlies, who were very nice lads who play some very crowd-pleasing dance music. But it was late and I was sinking fast, so I had to leave, but they're back at the Silver Lake Lounge on July 27 with Last American Buffalo, so I can give them more time


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