Concert Review ~ Black Friday @ Brother Willie’s

November 15, 2009

The breakdown for the night was simple, Mister opening for Sepia Tone. SJU’s local favorites had a friend in from the cities on saxophone, walking the razor’s edge after 36 hours without sleep.

Mister burned right through their set at high speed; drummer Grant Gibeau’s warmup diet of bear-related snacks had him popping along in a private war between himself and his sweatband. The band has translated well into electric. Scott Heins showed grace under pressure as a soloist, rhythm guitarist, and backing vocalist. The sax is a rock instrument, let there be no doubt, and at the end of the day a crowd just wants to hear it scream. Although Mister’s earlier work better compliments vocal harmonies than adjacent improvisation, they opened up the latter half of some songs to make the best of their setup, and the response at Brother Willie’s affirmed the choice. The show was as energetic as the band has ever been.

Sepia Tone had a bleak start with half the crowd headed for the doors and balconies and a microphone crapping out on them (later to be salvaged; I believe the credit is to Cooper Lund?). The group rose to the occasion with ‘Superstition’. Sepia Tone uses covers the right way: do the songs justice, break the ice, gain momentum. Bassist Jason Mclean was fabulous — the man knows how to find and fill a break. It became evident as the night wore on in the two hour set that the band had no weak members. Aaron Brostrom’s voice is, to be frank, hot. Both Nick Johnson and Kyle Tennis (a firm backbone for the band) can shred, and Anthony Bloch demonstrated for everyone that drum solos aren’t just about beating the bejesus out of your kit. All of them can sing. As a whole, Sepia Tone held tight and had an intuition for grooves. Anyone that stuck around can confirm that it’s a fun show; they’re welcome back any time.

Hopefully there won’t be any pyrotechnics from the speakers in the future.

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