A couple of weeks ago two of Asheville’s finest indie rock bands rolled through Columbia and New Brookland Tavern for a midweek show. We’ve done a little feature and interview with The Hermit Kings before, and heard good things about Doc Aquatic so my expectations were high seeing both bands live for the first time.
Doc Aquatic played first of the two, opening with a barrage of tonal guitar feedback and synths before releasing into their set. It was mesmerizing watching them create palettes of sound that bleed from one song to the next, matching beat with the drums, setting their style apart from the pack. Their latest EP sticks to the standard song length of about 3-5 minutes, but their live show pushes those boundaries with a set that moves quickly from one song to the next. Self described as shoegaze and psychedelic, their live show falls more in the psychedelic range, and less in the shoegaze, as you’re more gazing in wonderment of the sounds they’re making than anything else.
Hermit Kings frontman Zaq Suarez is towering on the New Brookland Tavern stage. Standing an easy 6 feet 4 inches tall he was expressive and commanding of the small, but attentive crowd. The Hermit Kings have sort of Mountain West folk base reminiscent of a band like Fleet Foxes or even Local Natives, crossing over at times and pushing the boundaries of their post folk genre. A fitting sound for a band from the Carolina mountains, with big reverbed out guitar leads coupled with full voice vocals and softer harmonies.