Saturday, January 19th, 2013 – The Bedlam Brothers

At this point it had been just barely over two weeks since the last concert I saw, and I was in desperate need of a fix.

There were a couple shows going on, and I opted for the one at my favorite Deep Ellum haunt, the Curtain Club.

Gorilla Productions was putting on a show here, which had spanned most of the day, beginning at five that afternoon, but of course most of the better acts had been saved for later in the night, such as The Bedlam Brothers, which was the band I was most interested in.

When I first arrived, there was a rapper on stage, and poor one at that. Granted, I’m not at all a fan of that genre, but I can at least be objective and admit when someone has talent, regardless of my personal opinions. But I found this guy to be just plain bad.

A trio called The Ones You Loved took the stage next, consisting of husband and wife duo, Tyler and Camille De Larm, plus one. Tyler was the guitarist and lead singer, while Camille played the keys and offered some backing vocals, and rounding out the lineup was a bassist.

They did look a little out of place in this venue that primarily hosts rock bands, but hey, you should never judge a book by its cover. But of course it’s okay to judge it by its contents, and in this case, the “contents” were less than stellar.

Tyler has no real vocal talent, and about all he could muster was a whiney singing voice that was far from appealing to me. I wasn’t too crazy about the music either, which was dominated by the keys/synthesizers, and I guess could be called electro-pop. Luckily their set was short, only about five or six songs, and despite some of their fans asking for more, time did not permit for it.

I have to give them credit, though, because despite my opinions about them, they did put on as energetic a show as they knew how. I believe it was before their second tune that Tyler encouraged everyone to dance to, “…But no one will be dancing more than men.” He stated. Camille did her part, too, and was often jumping up and down while banging on the keys.

I return to what I first said about them seeming out of place, and there were some times during their set that to me seemed a bit awkward, and oddly enough, that ended up being a rather endearing quality for The Ones You Loved.

Okay, I didn’t like them all that much, but maybe you will. They have a couple of records available in iTunes, if you’d like to give them a listen.

Up next was the Austin trio, The Bedlam Brothers, who were the main reason I was out this night.

The intro that began their set helped give the impression that they were the most professional band of the night. The sample track was rather beautiful, and soon after it started, Ben Buono, who was the groups fill-in drummer for the night, made his way on stage and got behind the kit, where he proceeded to pound out some beats. Eventually, Craig McLaughlin rounded out the rhythm section, adding some nice bass riffs to the mix, but things really sprang to life when singer and guitarist, Nick Santa Maria, started playing some notes and ran out on stage. They launched into a 42-minute long set, starting with a couple newer songs of theirs (Note: I don’t know how “new” they actually are, but they are that are yet to be released.) During the second song, Nick was rocking out so much that he knocked the cord of his guitar, as it suddenly fell silent. He didn’t seem to worried by it, though, and just shrugged before picking it up and plugging it back in, then got right back to business. In between songs, they were often conversion with the crowd, which was pretty decent sized, and at this point formally announced who they were and where they hailed from. “…But we call Dallas home…” Nick said, stating that they all come from the area, and have a lot of friends and family up here, who were obviously out to support them. The next song, “Not Enough”, might have made Ben feel a little nostalgic, as it was one he and Nick had done in their previous band, Skylines, but has been tweaked since, and now mines the Southern Rock genre. One thing was for sure, though, Ben appeared more happy on that one than any other this night, which is saying a lot, because he was always sporting a smile. They tackled a newer song next, which Nick mentioned they had debuted at their last Dallas gig, before asking the audience if they’d help out. The song was titled “Mary Rose”, and he belted out the name of this fictitious girl a few times before they began the song, coaching the crowd on what to say after that. It was simple, but only a few people joined in shouting out, “Mary was a tortured soul!” It’s one of the tracks that will be on their forthcoming album, and I have to say, I was blown away by it. It’s on a whole new level than some of their other stuff, and is really amazing. Afterwards, they plugged their little merch table, which had quite a few free download cards as well as some wristbands that had both the band’s name and album title on them. “…It’s over yonder…” said Craig, when pointing fans in the general direction. That got Nick’s attention. “…I’ve known you for almost ten years, and I’ve never heard you say the word, “yonder.” He said, looking a bit baffled. That made for a humorous little interlude, before they tore back into another song, which I believe was called “First Time”. Also, and I don’t remember exactly, but I think it was also around this point where they did their catchy song, “240 Miles”. Anyway, after one of those songs, Nick started having some slight technical difficulties, then asked for a light on the stage. “…I feel like a jackass…” he said, saying he had misplaced his capo and had to look for it. “…I always lose my stuff. It’s something my mom’s been trying to fix for almost twenty-four years…” he said, laughing, and added he didn’t think it would ever change. He needed that capo for another new one, which was also the one they were offering a free download of. It was “We Ride Tonight”, and also required some participation from the fans. It’s a stellar song, with some killer guitar riffs, and ended up being the highlight of their set. They had a couple left at this point, and after one, “Save Me”, Nick mentioned that he and Craig had first played the Curtain when they were about fifteen. “…We thought we were good…” he said. Then noted that more of their friends seemed to stick around for them once they were of age to drink, proving drinks really do make bands sound better… At least maybe to some people. That led them to the final song of the night, which Nick pointed out was the first song he and Craig started working on when The Bedlam Brothers were first conceived. It was a classic from Nick’s song catalog, and one that I don’t think reached its full potential until this band. It was “My 9 to 5”, and is still an excellent way to cap a show off.

I had finally seen The Bedlam Brothers for the first time nearly three months ago, and in that time, they’ve really improved.

I was impressed before, but tonight I was just blown away. They polished things up, and their stage show was much more tight and all around better. Part of that could be attributed to the larger stage of the Curtain Club, verses the more intimate Liquid Lounge, which allowed both Craig and Nick to be more active. Then you have Ben, who was a great addition to the group, even if it was just a onetime thing, and had some chemistry with the others, too. Oh, and those new songs they cranked out are something else, and if they are any indicator, then their “Saddle Up” record is going to be a must listen.

Speaking of that, they’ll be right back here at the Curtain on March 8th to celebrate the release of said album. It’s probably going to be an night not to forget, so don’t miss out on it.

The Unlikely Candidates
were on next. They’ve been around for a little while, 2008 to be exact, and while I’ve often heard the name, I had never seen them or listened to their stuff… And after seeing their set, I’m really regretting that.

Their an Indie Rock/Pop band, whose songs are pretty infectious, and about halfway through their opener I felt myself drawn towards the front of the stage. They kept things pretty short and sweet, bouncing from one song to the next, which vocalist, Kyle, said was “Hate to Love Me”. After another, they did what was arguably the best song of their all too short 28-minute long set, “Follow My Feet”. It’s got the hook, and had a few people dancing along to it while they sang along. To set up their next song, Kyle asked if there was anyone who was a fan of The Strokes, and more than a few people cheered at that. “Oh, well good. The you might find this cover somewhat enjoyable…” he said. He pointed out that not only are they his favorite band, but this was his favorite song of theirs. The track was “Someday”, and they did an absolutely amazing rendition of it. Possible even better than The Strokes themselves. I believe it was after that they did what Kyle said was their most philosophical song. At this point I don’t remember all the different layers he said it covered, as he described it all in pretty deep detail, but I think he began with something like it was about how insignificant one can feel when looking up and seeing all the stars. They had only one more after finishing it, and then that was their show.

I was a little disappointed, not by the band, but because I was enjoying their music so much I wanted them to play much longer.

It was still a great set, though, and I love their sound. Along with the typical guitar, bass and drums, they also had an acoustic guitar player. Now a lot of times, an acoustic can be drowned out by the louder, more dominate instruments, which was what I thought would happen with them. Not the case. Instead, it came through rather well, and added a gorgeous texture to all of their songs.

They have a show coming up in February 2nd at The Door in Dallas, and supposedly you should also be able to see them back at the Curtain on March 8th, for The Bedlam Brothers CD release show.

There was one last band scheduled at the Curtain Club, but I didn’t stick around for them. Instead, I crossed the patio over to the Liquid Lounge, where Denton’s own, The Gypsy Bravado was headlining.

I had actually seen the group once before, a little over two years ago. And while I had wanted to see them since, it just never worked out. And I wondered how good this show would be, because I heard from a friend, photographer, Jessy Huff, that the band had been drinking all day. That meant the show could go either way.

To say they were drunk would be an understatement, and even though I was standing pretty far back, you could tell from their eyes that they were beyond wasted.

Now, I have seen another band where at least one of their members was pretty far gone at one show, and it turned out to be one of the funniest and best shows I’ve seen said group do. But there’s a fine line between being a entertaining drunk and a sloppy one, and I was curious which side The Gypsy Bravado would come down on this night.

They opened with a very soulful song, that found keyboard player and primary singer, Mo Myles, guitarist, Shawn Bratton, and bassist, Jeff Dacus, all singing and harmonizing. It was an extraordinary number, and the way their voices intertwined with each other was dazzling. It also became immediately clear that whatever their state of inebriation, their music wasn’t going to suffer. In fact, I think it had the total opposite effect and made it sound even better. After another newer song of theirs, Mo announced to anyone who didn’t know it, that they had “…Been drinking all day…”. He didn’t hang on the subject long, though, and soon said they were going to play “What I Need”. It was a groovy one (that’s not an outdated term to use, is it?) with a sweet guitar solo/breakdown, which was perfectly balanced with some fiery parts on the keys. They did something a little different with their next song, and welcomed a friend of theirs on stage, who also happened to be a rapper (my apologies, as I don’t recall his name.) He walked up on stage with them. “I have something to tell you all.” He said, though it was barely audible, as the main mic had stopped working. It took them a minute, but they got the cable plugged back into it, and their friend revealed his words of wisdom. “…Always make sure the mic is plugged in.” he said, laughing. I was skeptical at first, because I’m not a big fan of how he was undoubtedly going to sing, or rather rhyme, but it turned out to be fairly good. He was talented in his chosen craft, as he busted out the lines of “California Zone”, and towards the end he even seemed to be free styling it, and doing a great job of it at that. He left them once it was finished, allowing the group to return to their Rock ‘n’ Roll jams, which included what seemed like the longest song of their set, “Mountain Tops”. It had a couple different layers to it, starting a bit slower, before working its way into a powerful song. And while it did seem pretty long, it didn’t drag. Possibly the funniest thing of their set was the fact that you could often hear them asking one another what song they wanted to do next. I mean, that happened at least every other song, and they’d quickly discuss. So next up, they opted for a new one. “It was written back in 1979” said one of the guys, possibly Jeff. They had been going for awhile at this point, and they stopped to ask the sound guy how much time they had left. His response, “One long one or two short ones.” Jeff was ready to do a couple more, but then drummer, Lou Anderson, spoke up. “Fuck it! Let’s do a long one!”here was no argument or anything, instead they just went with it and did a song from their “Through the Rabbit Hole” EP, “Dillinger (Rebel Son)”. It was another great example of how epic their music is, beginning with somewhat of a dreamy quality to it, before the drumbeats helped it explode into something you could really rock out to, and was rounded out with both a bass and guitar solo. That might not sound like it was a very long set, but in all it totaled 45-minutes.

I really don’t remember much from the other time I saw these guys, other than thinking they were alright. They were from alright this night, though… In a good way.

Granted, I don’t know what is par for these guys, but they seemed to be in rare form this night. And not only is the stage show pretty entertaining, but they also allow the music to speak for itself, and it will not doubt reel you in.

Check ‘em out, because regardless of your preference in music, chances are The Gypsy Bravado has at least one song that will appeal to you. And speaking of that, hopefully they’ll get some of those record in the near future.

In the meantime, you can get their EP in ITUNES, and even get a couple of FREE downloads from their REVERBNATION PAGE. They also have a show lined up for February 1st at Hailey’s up in Denton.

This was a pretty good night. I saw one band I like and became even more of a fan of theirs, and then got pulled in by a couple of others who I knew nothing or very little about beforehand. That’s a win in my opinion… At least it was until my car broke down on the drive home. But that’s another story.