Celebrating a new live album and fresh songs, the Traverse City trio on Thursday proved to fans at Kalamazoo’s Bell’s Brewery just why they’re a dynamic live act with a national following. Review, photos.
With a new album freshly dropped the day before, The Accidentals pulled out their newest songs — and then even some newer material — at Bell’s Brewery Eccentric Café in Kalamazoo on Thursday.
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Happy to be playing back in front of a home state crowd for the second consecutive evening after performing at The Ark in Ann Arbor the night before, the Traverse City-based indie-folk trio treated a good-sized back room crowd to all but one of the 10 songs featured on “The Accidentals Live” — which was recorded recently in one day at Nimblewit Studios in Goshen, Ind.
The band opened the show with a rendition of The Yeah Yeah Yeah’s “Gold Lion,” one of three covers that shows up on the album, before diving into a pair of songs that most fans have likely seen them do before in “Fractals” and the funky “Colder Weather” — the latter of which they recorded at an Audiotree session this past December.
From its collective opening notes, The Accidentals showed a stage presence that continues to get more personal each time I see the three of them live, as multi-instrumentalists Savannah Buist and Katie Larson stepped to the edge of the stage on multiple occasions to play as close to the crowd as they could without putting their feet on the dance floor.
At one point, Buist played atop her amplifier and at another drummer Michael Dause head-banged while playing the drums, bringing smiles to the faces of those on and off the stage with him.
Taking things into an even more personal space, Buist introduced her new and delicate “Black Diamonds” — the fourth song of the evening — by telling the audience that she was going to go ahead and be vulnerable with them. “We’ve all got baggage and it’s easier when we carry it together,” she said before going into the image-driven, lonely and lovely ballad.
Larson’s “Sleeve” — an ode to an old lost favorite jacket — followed, highlighted by some funky bass lines and fast-rhyming and soaring vocals, before the trio launched into “Vessel,” a song Larson stated will be on The Accidental’s next studio album, due out later this year.
Dause then took on an Animal-esque solo in the also soon-to-be-released “Waste” firing up the audience, prior to Buist’s soft and sentimental “Shoulder of Giants,” another of the young songwriter’s recent ballads.
‘SHARING THE STAGE WITH AMAZING MICHIGAN MUSICIANS’
Describing the Michigan music scene as unlike any other, Buist thanked Jammie Award-winning opening acts Earth Radio and Lipstick Jodi, both of Grand Rapids, and commented how honored the band was “to share the stage with so many amazing Michigan musicians.”
One of those Michigan musicians that happened to be in the house, The Appleseed Collective’s Vince Russo, joined the trio on washboard mid-set for three freshly-released songs, including a cover of Sarah Jaffe’s “Clementine,” as well as Buist’s new “Bucket Seat” and “Trouble.”
The band wrapped up the second half of the set with Larson’s summer-esque “Memorial Day” off of “Odyssey,” a Dause-sung cover of The Black Keys’ “Everlasting Light,” a harmonious spot-on cover of The Pixies’ “Where Is My Mind” and one of Larson’s latest in “Lady of The Lake,” before delving into their set-closing instrumental, “Mega Mash.”
Highlighting a half-dozen different tunes, Thursday’s “Mega Mash” included bits of “Number 9” by Moon Hooch, Dave Brubeck’s “Take Five,” Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir,” “Toss the Feathers” by The Corrs, Muse’s “Hysteria” and Django Reinhardt’s “Minor Swing,” clocking in impressively at right around eight minutes.
The band then closed the show with a double encore featuring fan-favorite “Michigan and Again” and the anthemic “Heavy Flag,” a political call to action penned by Buist and released just days before last November’s mid-term elections.
The Accidentals wrap up their U.S. tour with a pair of album release shows at 3 and 7 p.m. Sunday at the State Theatre in Traverse City, before heading to the United Kingdom next week to kick off their first-ever international tour. To buy tickets for one of their hometown TC shows, visit stateandbijou.org.
PHOTO GALLERY: The Accidentals, Lipstick Jodi, Earth Radio at Bell’s Brewery
Photos by Derek Ketchum