March 24, 2006
The Escaping Song
I’ll Could Be There For You
Plenty of Paper
Like the Actors
My wife and I drove up from Georgia to see Eisley on Friday. We considered going to the Atlanta show, but we live an hour and a half outside the city, and on a Thursday night we wouldn’t have gotten back until too late to then have to work Friday morning. And I have family in Nashville and have been to at least a dozen shows at the Exit/In over the years. I have always thought it to be a nice venue with great sound. I have seen Sixpence None the Richer, Vigilantes of Love, and numerous others there. My opinion of the venue changed dramatically last night.
(On the drive up we listened to Poor Old Lu’s “Mindsize.” For those of you who don’t know Poor Old Lu was Aaron Sprinkle’s first band, and “Mindsize” was their album. That was 1993, but the album is still great, and Poor Old Lu is still my favorite band. Aaron Sprinkle’s newest band, Fair is opening for Eisley on the West Coast. Oh how I wish I lived on the West Coast!)
When I saw on the Exit/In’s website that the show time was 6:00 p.m. I immediately questioned it, NO show starts that early. My guess was that the doors would open at 6:00, the first band at 7:00 and then Eisley would be around 9:00. My sister and her friends were going as well, so I just had my sister call me when the first band starting. She called just after 7:00 and that is when my wife and I headed over.
We entered the club about 7:45 and an unknown band was playing on stage. I soon learned it was Simon Dawes. I thought they were terrible! They definitely had fans present, but my wife and I could barely stand them. The highlight of their set for me was a cover of “Burning Down the House.” We missed Brighten, who I would have liked to see, I think they would have been more my style.
At some point during the Simon Dawes set the lead singer said the club asked him if they would extend their set by 20 minutes. Seemed pretty strange to me, I just figured Eisley wasn’t ready.
During the set change the crowd erupted when Stacy’s Rhodes was placed on the stage; I don’t think I have ever heard so much applause for a musical instrument without someone playing it. Right before Eisley went on stage, the lights went out and loud music came on. I had never heard the song before, but it was upbeat, and apparently was being played to get Eisley pumped for the show. There was a random laptop on stage cycling through pictures and the only other thing I could see was some people dancing backstage through a small crack in the curtain. If none of this makes sense just think about what it is like at an NBA game when the starting line-ups are announced.
Eisley started with my favorite song of theirs, “Mister Pine.” If any old songs appear on their new album, I hope this is the only one. The guitar parts were different than the recorded version of the song, and from the previous two times I had heard the song live. Part of it may have been technical difficulties with Chauntelle’s guitar, but I thought it sounded great.
They next went into “Marvelous Things” which rocked much harder than I remember (a good thing!). During this song I took an amazing picture of Sherri, as you can see below. It looks like she is screaming at the top of her lungs; I benefited from a well-timed flash from someone standing right below her. I didn’t take many good pictures, it was too dark and I was standing too far away.
Later in the show Sherri accidentally introduced “Telescope Eyes” as a country-twanged song, thinking that was what they were about to play “Golly, Sandra.” Stacy pointed out that she read the set list wrong, which resulted in some friendly sibling banter.
The first new song of the night was one I had never even heard mentioned before, “I Could Be There For You.” It was AMAZING! I got video of the entire song, which I have been watching today. Sherri introduced it as being about Indiana Jones, but I haven’t yet grasped the connection. It is mid-tempoed Stacy song, and sounds more like a love song than any other song Eisley has ever written. Pretty short too, less than three minutes.
The next new song was the one I have been looking forward to the most, “Invasion.” Kim got me excited when she first mentioned it on the board, and the resulting comments gave the song even more hype. It doesn’t disappoint! It is a very fast Sherri song, highlighted by the chorus, a sustained high note of “You…….” They introduced the song as being about aliens, and during the bridge Stacy sings “Call me crazy, but they are after us, one by one, one by one…” I got about half of it on video as well. I just have an average digital still camera, and the video is definitely lesser quality than Boyd’s, but it is not bad.
“Invasion” was followed by “Sunfeet.” I have the live mp3 on my computer, but the song sounded nothing like I remember. It was great, and now I am much more excited about hearing the studio version. It is a longer and slower Eisley song. It was about this time that the girls first mentioned that they were going to have to end their set early because of the fire code. They were confused, I was confused, it made no sense. But Eisley was sounding so good I didn’t care and just enjoyed the moment.
Eisley finished with two more new songs, “Like the Actors” and “Many Funerals.” Both of these songs I already knew thanks to Boyd videos, but hearing them live was totally different. Sherri played acoustic guitar for “Like the Actors,” unlike the Australia videos. (Probably didn’t take the acoustic on that trip?) Before the song she said to Stacy, “Let’s do the new song you sing, rather than the new song I sing, because I am tired.” So apparently there was a different new song on the set list. “Many Funerals” was the perfect way to end the show; it is fast becoming one of my favorite Eisley songs. It is so intense! The song has already changed quite a bit since the videos Boyd gave us. Musically it is about the same, but lyrically it has changed and they sing in some new parts where before it was just instrumental.
All that said, Eisley’s performance was incredible. I thought they sounded much better than the first two times I have seen them. They played 13 songs, which is pretty impressive for a shortened show. And I always love hearing songs for the first time in concert.
But I can’t write about last night without mentioning the problems with the venue. Like I mentioned, Stacy and Sherri both were told they had to end the set by 10 because of the fire code. This makes no sense, and I didn’t understand why until I read Boyd’s post about the show. Not only that, I overheard a conversation about how some people were being turned away at the door who had tickets. When the show ended, my wife and I were headed to the merch table, we probably would have purchased at least one, if not two t-shirts. But the Exit/In’s manager started yelling, “We are closed! Get out! We are closed! Get out!” And the employees started herding everyone out the door.
I had planned to talk to Boyd after the show, as well as get my copies of EP1 and EP2 autographed. Jonathan, Weston, and Stacy signed them last year; I was trying to get Sherri and Chauntelle’s signatures this time. I guess I could have hung around outside afterwards, but it was below freezing and there was basketball to be watched!
I still don’t understand the 115 people figure, every show I have ever attended at the Exit/In had more people than that. I am trying to figure out who to contact about the actions the manager took, maybe the police or the Better Business Bureau. In the mean time I have also emailed the management requesting a full refund. Anyway, it was an upsetting ending to what was otherwise a great night.
Listening to: Eisley- Final Noise EP (iTunes)
March 25, 2006