Last night I had the pleasure of hearing the Madison, Wisconson-based band Pale Young Gentlemen. The cellist in the band, Beth, is a friend of mine from undergrad, and I'm so glad she joined a hip band and isn't stuck playing 'Pachelbel's Canon' at weddings. Instead, she gets to see the country, be signed to a record label, play great music with cool people, and visit friends along the way. It was really inspiring to see a group of people my own age so relaxed about playing music and grateful for the opportunity to play for whomever shows up. All they wanted to do after the concert was enjoy some hot cocoa and apple cider! So, basically I am in love with all of them. To save them a little cash, Amy and I hosted them overnight and they all received an A+ in houseguest manners. What? No coke-snorting, furniture-in-the-swimming-pool, celebrity temper tantrums? Thankfully not present. Though we did talk about freebase spoons, and how they should be used more appropriately. Like for when you want some ice cream.
Composer speak: I think PYG's songs have great promise, and their first album already sounded pretty great (especially the dancey songs), so I'm looking forward to the second album, which came out today! I fully expect PYG to be well-received, especially with good performance conditions, and varied instrumentation of the songs on their studio recordings. Mike's songs have an unpredictably fun quality: a chorus might turn into a verse unexpectedly, or the drums kick in with a sudden dance beat, disappearing seconds later. Cello and viola lines intertwine and then change to bells and tambourine. A craptastic venue like Garfield Artworks in Pittsburgh wasn't exactly ideal for their chamber-music style, and the owner of the place is notoriously difficult, but through it all, their songs had my toes tapping, my diminished chords resolving, and my inner glockenspiel glocking.
This is obviously the part where I say that I hope they become well-loved and well-appreciated by the crowds. And once they get famous (but not too famous that they start throwing furniture out of hotel rooms), I can boast about having two members of the band sleeping in my living room. "...and then, they made me a delicious omelette for breakfast! And they're even cuter in real life..."
Best of luck on the rest of your tour, everyone!