The Weather Station’s tour with Bahamas came to an end last night after almost 2 months on the road together. Just in time for Tamara Lindeman & co to head down to Austin for some South By Southwest shows before they do a headlining run of their own. This was my first time seeing The Weather Station and second seeing Bahamas, and both had their own qualities that I enjoyed, but they did make good sense on a bill. They have complementary sounds that make for a great evening of music.
I appreciated the urgency with which The Weather Station approached the show. There weren’t many breaks between songs, and banter was left to a minimum. The only thing that took up any time at all other than music was Tamara thanking Bahamas for having them on this leg of tour and that it’s great to be able to play every night with the best musicians you’ve ever heard.
The songs were restrained and subdued. A nice way to start a show and ease you in for the night. If you’re unfamiliar the songs are a lot like Laura Marling and a little like Aimee Mann. There are a few toe-tappers, but for the most part it’s contemplative folk/pop. Tamara has a good voice for their style that pleasantly drags you into the tunes until you’re right in the thick of it. And every once in a while there will be a guitar solo out of nowhere to remind you that these folks came to play.
I saw Bahamas a few years ago when Afie opened for Michael Kiwanuka at Park West. I liked the set a lot, and in particular the song “Your Sweet Touch.” I still return to that song now and again, but I haven’t kept up with him since. I did listen to the new album, Earthtones, when it came out. I’m not a fan. However, it does sound better live. I had planned on leaving after the first three songs (the general rule for concert photography is first three and no more), but I ended up staying for about 10.
Afie’s voice boomed over the PA to announce that Bahamas would soon be taking the stage for a soft rock concert and then counted down from 5 before his band entered the room. They opened with the slowburning “So Free,” an 8-minute jam that comes toward the end of the latest record.
It’s easy to forget how good he is at those smooth, effortless guitar solos. In the first few songs he got a good number of them off and each one was incredible. His voice sounded clean and on-pitch all night, which is impressive when you think about all the upper register notes he hits. Four newer songs opened the set before they started playing some of their older songs like “Waves” and “Caught Me Thinkin’.”
I had a good time and the sold out venue was packed to the point where I was really concerned about hitting someone with my camera lens (only one person got bumped on the noggin). I’d recommend checking out both bands if they end up in your town. Ideally you could see both at the same time.