lady danville @ Bogarts, 10 November 2010

15 Nov

lady danville
Bogarts, Cincinnati Ohio
10 November 2010

I think I’m in love. I don’t think that love is a strong enough word, but it’s true and so it goes. The scene is unassuming. The stage is full of various musical instruments, very little of which belongs to the opening band. There is a keyboard, a guitar, very little as far as a drum kit is concerned, and a cajón, a Peruvian box like percussion instrument.

The feeling of being in the often dreaded position of being the only support band in a packed house could be daunting, but the gentlemen of lady danville couldn’t have been any less phased. Most of the front row was rife with ambivalence, but that didn’t last for long. It wasn’t long before it was time for the show to start. Walking across stage, past all of the various musical instruments, they settle into their “designated section” of the stage. Opening with Spoon, they started slowly before really getting going by the first chorus. Cincinnati crowds are notoriously fickle, but they were no match for these guys. The end of every song brought louder and louder applause. The crowd was starting to crack. Perhaps the most impressive moment during their set came during their cover of MGMT’s Kids. Their version is effortless and sophisticated. The first forty five seconds, there was a complete silence as the crowd was held rapt. Fifteen hundred people and not a single person spoke; if anyone was breathing, you couldn’t hear it. As if on cue, the crowd erupted into cheers. They do MGMT better than MGMT and they do it with grace and class. It was a turning point in the set. They had won everyone over. From then on, it was smooth sailing. Musically, they were a cohesive tour de force. If you didn’t know any better, you would never have guessed that this was their first major tour. Vocally, however, is another story. If I knew of a word more powerful than perfection, I’d use it. There are certain things that you can do in the studio which are difficult to replicate live. Here, they sounded exactly like what they are supposed to: perfection. The harmonies were tight and unwavering; they went from thirds to fifths and back to thirds. Half way through their set, I don’t think a single person was standing still, especially during Uke Song / I Want You back. This could have very easily gone into cutesy territory, but they managed to avoid it. They are cute without being kitsch or cutesy. They brought the Los Angeles sunshine to the drab Midwest and in the end, everything seemed like it was going to be ok.

Perhaps the thing that was most striking was the fact from the moment they walked on stage to the moment that they walked back to their merch table, there wasn’t a point in the evening where they weren’t at least smiling. Most of the time, they were grinning from ear to ear. They genuinely looked like they were having the time of their lives. I think the last shot truly embodies the bond and the passion that these guys share. Every person who came up to their table after the show was greeted with a humble, “thank you for coming out” or a “thank you for your kind words!” I’m pretty sure that they had more traffic than Ben Folds’ table; that isn’t a slight against him in the least bit, but it’s a testament to how good these guys actually are.

Keeping all of this in mind, it’s safe to say that I haven’t been this excited about a band in years. It’s an extraordinarily rare circumstance in which I say this, but lady danville not only set the bar incredibly high for Ben Folds, but in their short set certifiably showed him up. The only thing I that I could have asked to have been done differently was that they should have been given a longer set. You know what, though? That’s for next year’s (hopeful) headlining tour. Do yourself a favour and if this tour comes anywhere near you, go. Go even if you’re not a Ben Folds fan. This is the best band that you’ve never heard of, but that definitely won’t last for long. You’re going to leave the show happy and in love with life because these guys embody everything that is good and right with music.

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Their setlist, more or less as it was played, though I might be missing something.

Spoon
Bed 42
Kids
Ship Song
The Uke Song / I Want You Back
Cars

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