The Low Anthem w/ Nathaniel Rateliff @ The Fox, 04/03/10

Yesterday was a long day and it wasn’t an easy day.  By the time 6pm rolled around I was thinking my couch and a movie sounded much better than a drive up to Boulder to catch a few indie folk acts.  I seriously considered it for about an hour before I finally got moving.

Even though I did not make it through the end of the show, I am glad I took the drive.

Nathaniel Rateliff is one of those local acts that I have seen a few times and thought ‘he’s going to be somebody’.  It seems I was right.  There was a lot of buzz around the torn v-neck wearing folkster at SXSW and now it seems he’s dropped The Wheel title from his name and will be releasing his solo debut, Memory of Loss, on Rounder Records in April.  I came in a little late to the game, so I’m not sure if the band he is performing with is a different line-up than the band he called The Wheel…but he (and they) still sound great.

Last night he ran through a bunch of songs from that forthcoming album as well as familiar songs from other live shows, his Daytrotter Session and the self-released Desire and Dissolving MenNathaniel plays mostly quiet folk/country-rock tunes but can bring it up a few notches with his signature howl.  He reminds me a little of Bill Callahan but with more personality.

He stuck to mostly mellow tunes last night even though he joked ‘this is a loud one’ before the first song.  It was another great set from true local talent and I’m looking forward to the album.

The Low Anthem are one of those bands that I knew nothing about.  I loved their Oh My God, Charlie Darwin album and I listened to it quite a bit, but I never did any research into who they were.  I also always figured there were two singers because of the Bon Iver vs. Tom Waits diversity on their album.

Last night I learned there are 5 people in the band (or at least touring with the band). There is only one lead singer and he looks a little like Colin Farrell.  They have a stand-up bass player than will rock your world and a multi-instrumentist/backup vocalist that will melt your heart…she could sing in the opera.

Almost every member of the band plays every intrument onstage, which numbered in the teens.  They are a quiet folk band that opened with (my favorite) To the Ghosts Who Write History Books and then moved on through the Charlie Darwin track list (a real highlight being the title track) with a unreleased track or three from their upcoming album thrown in.

This type of talent is the reason I listen to so much music…I literally ‘listen so you don’t have to’ in order to find bands like this.  That being said, I’m not sure I would see them live again, especially on a night when I’m already so tired.  I’m not taking anything away from their performance and I highly recommend seeing them once (because seeing is believing), but I really recommend buying the album and listening to it while relaxing on the couch.  That being said, the small crowd that was there was VERY much into their set (Nathaniel’s as well).

I made it through their first hour and then had to bail even though they were scheduled for a 2 hours.  Kinda regretting that today.