April 13th 2009
F-Yeah Fest: Eagle Rock, California
They were due to play at the Center for the Arts in Eagle Rock, a post-bucolic pastoral suburb of Los Angeles. The town’s gravity ebbs from the historic Occidental College, which lies hidden amongst oak trees and Bougainvillea flower bushes scattered every which direction. Eagle Rock was an appropriate destination for the traveling folk band from San Francisco.
The venue was a Spanish built church renovated into a Universalist community center of some kind. A modest sign on the front lawn read: EAGLE ROCK CENTER FOR THE ARTS. The church was on an incline, fed by elegant concrete steps winding up top. Orangish yellow stage lights faintly casted out onto the steps, toning the bushes and baby trees on the property. Soothing. A subtle ode to the band was in everyone’s demeanor.
Richard Swift opened up, sending the right vibration for the hundred plus crowd. For intermission there was a rare groove DJ who looked like a cross between David Byrne and Clint Eastwood. 3 Comedians warmed up the crowd, including a heady bit by Josh Faden.
After a warm Eagle Rock welcome, front man Andy Cabic and the 5-piece band delivered an analog, soft-real-soft, ensemble of blues, folk and jazz. The songwriting forgave everyone.
Despite some initial feedback the band rocked everyone into a dream like state. The sound issues didn’t even break their firm hold on the music. “On a Nerve”, a song that renders life into shapes, sent everyone swooning, eyes closed, Cabic included, “…the shape of things to come.” They played a healthy 90-minute set creating an atmosphere of comfort and stillness. Just as soothing as the opening, the close was like a deep sigh of relief. Amazing music prevails.