Last night, I went to a show. I love live music, so most of my reviews of it are biased because I just love the atmosphere of a live show, a throwback from my theatre days I think. There’s something about that spark of energy and the possibility you will flop with a live crowd that makes it so much better. Back to the story, my friend’s cousin is in this band I’d never heard of, and she’s been pulling for the past two weeks to get me to come, and she played me a little of their music and I agreed because the sound reminded me a little bit of Penguin Prison, see here if you don’t know him and wish to know my love for him. So I hauled myself to a bar off Belmont to see a show knowing very little about what was to come, but reassuring myself that the atmosphere enough would pay off the 10 dollar entry fee, and boy was I right.
There were two opening bands, the first was Ballroom Boxer who was pretty good, but I’ve yet to look into them farther so I will let you know if I find juicy goodness when I do that later. The second band whose name I can’t recall was just okay, probably why I don’t recall their name, and their harmonies were rather accosting at best. They were the most enthusiastic band I have probably ever seen though. The third band was the one we were there for, Gentlemen Hall.
Let me begin your introduction (or reunion?) to Gentlemen Hall with a little background information. Gentlemen Hall has had a big year. The Boston-based band is composed of six guys who went to the Berklee College of Music, where I’m getting a lot of my background info from a profile they did, (here if you’d like to read the whole thing.) They then went on to do well in the Boston scene, winning the MTV VMA in Best Breakout Artist Boston category, before turning down the opportunity to be a part of the Rolling Stone and Atlantic Records’ Do You Wanna Be a Rock & Roll Star? contest.
They did however, jump at the opportunity to compete in the first ever Billboard Battle of the Bands. Three bands from each of the six regions of the country competed for six finalist slots, determined by online support, those six finalists, including Gentlemen Hall, drove to Vegas in Chevy vehicles, one of the sponsors, accompanied by a video crew. The number of video views and number of visits to the band pages, tweets and facebook mentions created a “social score” that was a factor in the judges’ decisions. Gentlemen Hall took the title. That win put them on the May 2011 Billboard Music Awards, live in Vegas, where they performed on the same stage as Rihanna, Beyoncé, the Black Eyed Peas, Cee Lo Green, and Keith Urban. They also won a commercial deal with Chevy and a marketing and promotion deal with Live Nation, a huge promoting and ticket sales company.
Since they won, they’ve been touring to promote their EP, When We All Disappear. The band has a unique electronic-rock sound with two lead singers, and a flutist (my friend’s cousin,) not to mention the guitars, drums and keyboard. The band definitely has an electronic feel, but what’s interesting is that a part of that is definitely the flute’s doing. While he plays solos and actual featured flute riffs, it was also normal to have it as a sort of rhythm producer, like the keys. There were definite moments when I thought that what was being created by the flute was actually the keys until I watched him. As a mediocre high school flutist, watching him was really remarkable. He was playing with the air use and improvisational movement of a jazz flutist, but in a completely different way. I’ve never seen anything quite like it.
All of this being said, they may be the best band I’ve seen perform live, and I’ve seen a lot of big names live. Watching them live had a quality of entrancing me, like when I watched Travis Barker during Blink 182 live, I couldn’t take my eyes off him he’s so good; there was definitely a degree of that to their whole performance.
In fact, now I have their EP, and it is very good, I may have liked them better live than on their recording, something I have never thought about any artist before ever. Not only were they entrancing, but their singing and notes were spot on the entire show. I’ve never been so happy I spent 10 dollars. Not only that but afterwards, I talked to her cousin and a few of the others, and they are insanely nice. If I move to NYC, I will look them up in Boston, and if I don’t I will just insist my friend take me to all their shows. They just got a new fan, and as a new fan who shares her music love.”Blush” my favorite song of the night.
And this is “All Our Love.”
If you loved those, as you rightly should, go to their website, to check out more live videos, photos and updates, tour schedule, buy merch with their adorable mustached logo, or download their EP for free, yes, free. I promise, it is worth the listen.