Monday, January 17, 2011

A Great Night for Local Music: The Love Language and Archers of Loaf 1/15/11


The Love Language / Archers of Loaf

What a great night for local music.

After seeing Stu McLamb’s amazing vocal performance at the Big Star Third Show, I decided that I would check out his band the Love Language at the cradle. Unfortunately, by the time I was ready to purchase tickets the band had sold out due to the buzz around a special guest performance. I started searching the Internet forums and craigslist listings for a ticket and eventually ended up having to purchase a ticket at over three times the face value. However, the show was well worth the thirty-five dollars I reluctantly shelled out because the hype around the secret performance turned out to be one hundred percent true.

The cradle was packed with two distinct groups, a fresh young crowd and seasoned veterans of the local 90s music scene. The excitement in the room steadily grew as rumors and stories about the secret band were exchanged between the two different groups. A Dj from Winston Salem took the place of the usual house music and spun old school funk gems like the Communicators, occasionally taking up a tambourine and demanding attention from a crowd that was preoccupied with the rumored special guests.

The stage lights dimmed and all the fans that were “in the know” exploded with joy. The rumors were true; Archers of Loaf took the stage for the first time in thirteen years. The local band, which had formed in 1990 had disbanded due to one of the members onset of carpel tunnel. If you are unfamiliar with Archers Of Loaf, think of them as an edgier, more punk rock version of Superchunk. Some of the audience members had informed me that they had driven all the way from New Jersey just to possibly get the chance to see Archers of Loaf. 

Archers burst the Cradle wide open with Eric Johnson’s beat up Gretsch guitar and a flawless, high energy “Audio Whore”.  I was utterly amazed, they sounded as if they had never stopped playing. I felt nostalgic, as the sounds that were permeating from the stage were reminiscent of the Chapel Hill scene in the mid nineties. After “Audio Whore” started winding down thousands of marshmallows were thrown on stage during “Harnessed in the Slums”.

Photo By Lydia
Bassist, Matt Gentling, was truly a sight to see as he was thrashing his bass around the stage all while marshmallows were flying from every direction. Later in the night after the sticky mashed mess onstage kept catching the chord Matt joking said, “ I regret having the marshmallow emporium”.  Stickiness aside, the band continued their twelve song set with out any foreseeable flaws. They played mostly key tracks from Icky Mettle and Vs The Greatest of All Time, topping off the set with hits like “Web In Front” and “Wrong” and finally “Slow Worm”.


By the time “Wrong” was performed it was pretty clear that Archers of Loaf had gained a fair amount of fresh new fans, as the entire crowd was reflecting the high energy and enthusiasm that Archers had given them. Archers of Loaf finished their set and thanked the crowd as one man that was just introduced to the band screamed ,“You Fucking Changed My Life! . The crowd demanded and screamed for an encore that never came, three die-hard fans rushed the stage to get their hands on the first Archers of Loaf set list in thirteen years. 


Archers of Loaf set list
Audiowhore
Harnessed in Slums
Revenge
Nostalgia
Lowest Part Is Free
Freezing Point
Greatest of All Time
You and Me
Might
Web In Front
Wrong
Slow Worm


 
Hardly able to comprehend the greatness of Archers of Loaf, I thought to myself “I really would hate to have to follow that act”. The few remaining marshmallows that were not stuck to the audience members’ shoes were swept up as an illuminated heart made out of Christmas lights dawned the stage.  The crew prepared the stage for the Love Language by appropriately giving a shot or two of scotch where each band member would be sitting along with PBRs and the occasional Miller Lite.

Stu Mclamb and company walked onto the stage and remarkably kept the same high energy that Archers had left the awaiting crowd with. The Love Langauge eased into “Blue Angel” with an incredibly full rich sound that completely blew me out of the water.  “Blue Angel” sounded as if Beach House had grown a spine and listened to sixties garage surf rock growing up.  Without wasting any time, The Love Language blasted through their freshman single “Lalita”.

It was pretty apparent that this was a different sounding Love Language than we have seen at previous shows. The Love Language has fostered an incredibly full sound and have perfected their live show since the Libraries record release show last year. At some points The Love Language sounded like early Dr. Dog and at other times the Love Language sounded more like early but refined garage rock of the 60s.  All in all the Love Language were intoxicating.

photo by Kevin Norris
The heart wrenching instrumentation and emotion in “Nocturne” better prepared the audience and myself for a very emotionally powerful concert. The set list brought the crowd through the ups and downs of life with a mix between the Love Languages new album Libraries and the older heavier self-titled release. 
Stu Mclamb addressed the crowd of brand new and old fans, “I am still trying to wake up from this…but its fucking happening”. Stu… if this is a dream, please do not wake up for all of our sakes. The Love Language has surpassed all of my expectations.

The Love Language also performed a brand new song that fit quite nicely with their new playing style. The new song was then followed by “Strychnine”, an amazing Sonics cover that provided so much energy that even the sound guys were dancing along. 

I was completely blown away at the new professionalism of the band, even with the technical errors that were present during the encore; the band played a pretty solid set. When commenting about the lack of sound coming from the guitar, Stu said, “Shit happens… but that’s what our songs are all about”.

If you missed your chance to see the Love Language last Saturday, don’t fret. The local heroes will be playing a rescheduled show at the Blind Tiger in Greensboro on February 4th.  Following the Blind Tiger show, the Love Language will be going on tour with Telekinesis.


The Love Language set list
Blue Angel
Lalita
Nocturne
Anthophobia
Providence
Manteo
Two Rabbits (1st song ever written for Love Language)
Sparxxx
Heart To Tell
This Room
(new song)
(Strychnine Sonics cover)
Horophones
----------
Wilmont
This Blood is Our Own
Brittany's Back
----------
Stars
Graycourt


Watch VIDEO from concert!!! 

Archers of Love - Wrong Live at Cats Cradle 



Love Language-  Brittany's Back Live at Cats Cradle

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