It was time for another Setlist on the Green in Klyde Warren Park – I had been to the first and second ones last season, and the one last week was rained out (though the weather didn’t seem so bad to me). I really have enjoyed these, so I rode the DART train downtown after work and bought myself a sushi roll from a food truck, a beer from the beer trailer, and sat down with my camera down front, ready to rock.
What’s cool about the Setlist on the Green is that, with six different folks playing only a half hour each, you get a variety of styles and attitudes – and if there is one that does not fit your fancy, well, wait a minute and there will be another one. The park is a unique gorgeous urban setting, – even if the stage area and the restaurant site next door seems to be in a perpetual state of construction.
The festivities started with TreyChick (Trey Pendergrass and Natalie Young) who brought a nice sense of humor to their performance. They also were the first band I’ve ever seen using iPads for setlist and lyric sheets. I made a note of one of their lyrics – “I”m not good enough to love you, only good enough to fix your car.” I know that feeling.
Then Luna Matto, Johnny Beuford, and Becky Middleton (from Ishi) did their sets – and they were really cool. As each performer performed and the evening went on, the sun setting, the clouds skidding by overhead between the skyscrapers like oil paints smeared on the sky, behind the stage the distant cars on the busy road shooting down into the buried highway under the park, the crowd slowly growing… it was a great time.
But, I have to admit, almost everyone, me included, were there to hear the last performer, Home by Hovercraft.
First of all… what a damn cool name for a band. I remember, back in the early days of the world (1981) sitting down with another music fanboy and systematically deciding on the best band names. We even made a bracket and voted and such. In the end, he had Talking Heads as the best band name – and I agreed, though I thought The Teardrop Explodes was a hair better. This was thirty years before I had heard of Home by Hovercraft… which would give those titans of the time a run for the money.
Second, there is a lot of buzz about this band and I wanted to see them in the worst way. When the news of something hot and new reaches me, the least cool and hip person on the planet, you know it must be worthwhile.
Home by Hovercraft is greatness. The first thing that strikes you is the instrumentation. The lead singer plays a tarnished euphonium when he isn’t singing. The backup singer (his wife) plays keyboards plus there’s another singer with a mandolin or harmonica. Tonight they added a cello player. There’s a drummer on a kit, but he is assisted in the rhythm section by an Irish Dancer (the lead singer’s sister), stomping out beats on a hunk of basketball court hardwood. When she isn’t dancing, she plays a small glockenspiel.
Despite the odd instruments, this isn’t a novelty band. They are very tight and extremely talented. The vocals are strong and unique.
I have no idea what genre their music falls into (other than that awful moniker, “indie,” which means nothing)… I guess it can be best described as sounding like Home by Hovercraft.
Home by Hovercraft has a strong theatrical background which comes through on stage – they are very entertaining and confident up there. They have done a musical On the Eve which will be produced by Theater Three later on this year. I have got to see that. I think a lot of the music on their album Are We Chameleons? (I downloaded it from Amazon) is from the musical.
They will be performing at the Deep Ellum Arts Festival (Sunday, April 7, 12:30PM) – we’re going there anyway so Candy can see the pet parade and I can buy a little head in a little wooden box. Looking forward to it.
Next week’s Setlist on the Green will be classical performers… which should be something interesting.
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