Last Friday’s lingering humid haze brought about a warm and sluggish afternoon in downtown Davis. The strangely dreary weather and lack of people wandering the streets led a person to believe there wasn’t much going on downtown.
However, there were a decent amount of things going on, including a short collaborative set consisting of band members from the Old Believers, Red River and Congratulations at Armadillo Music.
The Old Believers and Congratulations – consisting of Nelson Kempf, Dhani Rosa, Keeley Boyle, Danielle Sullivan, Clayton Knapp, Thomas Himes, Jordan Bagnall, Dan Galucki, Tanner Johnson and Morgan Herst – originate from Portland, Oregon. The two bands consist of the same musicians, but their musical undertones and lyrical resonance differ.
The Old Believers, mainly consisting of singer-songwriters Nelson Kempf and Keely Boyle, combine feather-like tones with endearing lyrics about unrequited love to create pleasant folk music. The band released their first LP Eight Golden Greats in July of last year and is currently working on their second record to be released in early 2010.
Similar to the Old Believers, Congratulations also chiefly consists of songwriter Dhani Rosa and lead vocalist Danielle Sullivan. By blending bright melodies, some jazz undertones and sweet lyrics, Congratulations also succeeds in creating mellow and soulful folk. The band recorded two EPs in the past few years and will be featured in the Old Believers‘ upcoming record.
From Long Beach, Calif., the Red River produces warm, heartfelt folk music. Consisting of Bill Roberts, Mike Turner, Drew and Manny, the Red River released a few EPs in the past, as well as a full-length record, Grassblades, last year. The band plans to move up to Portland later this year to join their new label mates and will be releasing their next LP entitled Little Songs About the Big Picture in the coming months.
With no more than 25 people inside Armadillo Music, members of the three bands began an acoustic set in a cozy corner – only pausing to decide which song to play next. The melodies and lyrics were soft and sweet – intertwining light choruses with memorable harmonies and impressive vocals, similar to those heard on the Old Believers and Congratulation’s recorded tracks. The band members switched off playing the guitar and incorporated the saxophone, an electric mini keyboard, humming and leg clapping into their set, which added to the light-hearted atmosphere they created within the store.
The performance was short and mesmerizing, and had a number of listeners swaying in place and bobbing their heads to the beat. After performing a couple songs, Bill Roberts of the Red River performed an upbeat song about desperation for self-destruction to leave the audience on a humorous note.
For more information on upcoming shows at Armadillo Music, visit their page on Facebook.
SIMONE WAHNG can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.