Despite the fact that Vetiver’s been together for six years, I somehow missed seeing the band until last night (March 10) at the Empty Bottle. The group’s been called “freak folk,” not one of my favorite genre labels, but Vetiver certainly has a folk-rock feeling. I’m particularly fond of Vetiver’s second full-length record, the 2006 release To Find Me Gone, which has strong melodies as well as a somewhat spooky mood.
I was glad to hear some songs from that record Wednesday night. The songs from Vetiver’s 2009’s record Tight Knit sounded a bit more conventional, but still pretty enjoyable. I wonder if something rubbed off on Vetiver when the band played as ex-Jayhawks singer Gary Louris’ backing group? www.vetiverse.com
The show started off with an opening act all the way from the Czech Republic, Please the Trees, who played a cool, rocking set. Looking up the band on myspace, I see that it describes its influences as “sound, noise, silence, wood, river, sea, sky, light, love,” while the sound is described as “Something in between Abba and Helmet.” www.myspace.com/pleasethetrees
The second band was Chicago’s Robbie Hamilton & Soft Drugs, who played rock with an early ’70s country-rock tinge, including a shout-out to Gram Parsons. Some good songs, though the set got a little sloppy at the end. www.myspace.com/robbiehamiltonmusic
It was a frustrating night for taking photos, especially during the headlining set by Vetiver. The band’s singer and songwriter, Andy Cabic, was under dim red lighting for the entirety of the show, so if you don’t see many pictures of Cabic in my gallery, that’s why. Photos of Vetiver, Please the Trees and Robbie Hamilton & Soft Drugs.