Cake Shop March 26th 2007
Illinois /Trainwreck Riders / Peasant AKA Damien Derose
The Cake Shop is a venue on the lower east side. Entering at street level and then negotiating a steep stairway to a dark basement, it is hard to imagine the caliber of the music that unfolded during the evening.
I was thrilled to see Trainwreck Riders from San Francisco. The music can be described as hardcore cowboy punk, with alt country twang. Immediately I knew I was hearing an accomplished group of musicians. The crowd shook to the driving force of the engine that could. The music slowed down to capture the rooted vocals of Pete Fraudenfelder. It came back furiously kicking up dirt, descending on the audience leaving us coming up for air. The sound of distant guitar passages by Andrew Kerwin, sounded like echoes from a deserted town. The musicianship is apparent, but does not sacrifice the essence of their raw live sound.
Illinois from Bucks County Pennsylvania make a ruckus with their banjo laden songs, great vocal harmonies and exceptional drumming. Using other traditional rock instruments and the telephone distortion invention, they create a rock force in the higher order. Chris Archibald is quite the front man, he has charisma. His verbal antics are natural, unrehearsed and entertaining.
Standing up close, watching Illinois professionally handle the logistics of the small stage was eye opening. They seamlessly dealt with the mic not working and becoming detached, getting tangled in the wiring and the low ceiling. Because of all these issues, the fantastic harmonies that usually accompany Chris Archibold's vocals were lost. The first few songs of the set were the strongest and the most receptive to the small setting. Their sound calls for a larger and better sound system. With all that aside, Illinois put on a great show to an appreciative audience, in a packed room.
Closing the rollicking show, with guitar in hand was Peasant. He describes his band on myspace as "just one lowly Peasant". This description rang true last night as he stepped onto the stage alone. We were treated to a six song set of new material. Adding a nice touch was the song he played with the harmonica. His echoing tenor voice, captivated me and the others that gathered closely around him for his quiet moving set. His voice has unique charms, that capture the beauty and sincerity of his songwriting. The songs are thoughtful and sometimes sad about love lost and found. His set left me warm and smiling.
Web Album Link show pictures by Artifact