Blind Pilot played with Cotton Jones at The Pour House in Charleston, SC last Thursday, Feb. 23.
Before I start with my review of the show, I must mention a gripe I had with The Pour House. Luckily, the nice people of In Music We Trust pr gave me a pass to the show, but a couple of my friends had to buy tickets and there were some silly issues. Usually if you buy your tickets for a show beforehand, the incentive is that the ticket price is a little bit cheaper, right? For this show, advance tickets were $11 and day of tickets (bought at the venue) were $13. So only a $2 difference but still a little bit less. Well, when we arrived at the venue, one friend bought their ticket at the venue, and there was a $3 surcharge at the door, bringing the total price up to $16. Another friend had bought their ticket online, but they got charged a $5 surcharge at the door, bringing their total to the same exact price of $16. I understand that under 21 surcharges are important because they don’t drink and stuff, but seriously? A different surcharge for someone who bought their tickets earlier? I thought venues wanted people to buy their tickets early. I think that was extremely stupid on the venue’s part and hopefully they don’t do that for every show.
Anyways, the venue was still a pretty great place. It had a nice bar and a good-sized stage with lots of space for people to stand or sit. We arrived 45 minutes after doors and there were already a good amount of people there and everyone seemed to be excited. Spirit animals were flying all over the place and there were a lot of drunk people (which means they were having a good time). We asked one inebriated fellow what his spirit animal is and he said “A F@$%ING LION!”. Cotton Jones hit the stage around 10pm and played a solid, but maybe a tad boring, 40 minute set. The little problem with the set was that the sound mixing was not the best, the bass was too loud and the vocals were too low. However, when the vocals were able to be heard, the singer’s voice was in a place between Modest Mouse’s Isaac Brock and Dr. Dog’s Scott McMicken. Pretty good voice to have, if you ask me.
We got up into the crowd after Cotton Jones for Blind Pilot and got fairly close to the front. It was nice to see all these smiling faces excited to see Blind Pilot, a band who seem to be getting bigger and bigger every month. They hit the stage with two songs from their most recent album, Always and Keep You Right. By then, every single person in the venue was sold on the band and needed nothing more in their lives than seeing Blind Pilot right at that moment. There were two extremely impressive things about this show. The first was the band members. All of them seemed so excited and so happy to be there. It’s fantastic for me to see a band who genuinely play music because they like it. Especially when they start to get a buzz and gain traction in the music industry. These guys definitely deserve it. Frontman Israel Nebecker (spirit animal= coyote) used two simple guitars and his amazing voice to carry the show. Bassist Luke Ydstie (polar bear) used an upright bass and harmonizing vocals, while Kati Claborn (raven + deer = ravendeer) played a banjo, ukelele, and sang along as well. In the band there were Ian Krist (armadillo) on the xylophone, Ryan Dobrowski (sea lion) on the drums, and Dave Jorgensen (coyote) on the keyboard + xylophone + trumpet. They all were way too talented and blew every single person in the venue away.
The second impressive thing about the show was the sound mixing. They mentioned their sound guy Mike who did an absolutely fantastic job with the sound. Every single thing that they wanted to be heard could be heard by the whole crowd. Many times the vocals are too quiet or the keyboard is non-existent but everything was just perfect. Another highlight in the set were was they brought on a fan to play guitar with them on The Story I Heard, just because he asked if he could. Also One Red Thread and Three Rounds And A Sound were brilliant live updates of the songs on Blind Pilot’s first album. My absolute favorite song of the set was We Are The Tide closer New York. It is one of my favorite songs ever and it was even better live. The lighting was dark and ominous, the vocals were beautiful, and everything seemed so right at that moment. My spirit animals were completely calm and content.
Just go see this band if they play anywhere near you. If you’re heading to Bonnaroo this year, they’ll be there, and you should be wherever they are. They’re going to break out into something huge soon and you are going to want to be there when it happens.
You can check out their upcoming tour dates right here: http://www.blindpilot.com/#/tour/
All the photos used in this article were taken by Chris Sim