I have to admit that I’ve been on the fence about Earlimart. Missed out on the early records and still haven’t heard them. I was a little underwhelmed by Treble & Tremble when it came out in 2004, and then I had the odd experience of seeing Earlimart on the second half of a double bill at Schubas with Okkervil River. Okkervil blew the roof off the place and then Earlimart killed my buzz with too much mellowness. I probably would have liked it much better if the order of the bands had been switched that night.
All that being said, I do like the new Earlimart record, Mentor Tormentor. Maybe the band is just growing on me. They played last night (Aug. 30) at Schubas, and the show seemed to have a lot more punch than that 2004 gig, at least based on what I remember. Plus, they had a “String Dream Team” (including Andra of the 1900s) playing behind them last night, which made the pretty parts sound even prettier. I wish Ariana Murray would sing lead vocals more often – that song she sings on the new CD, “Happy Alone,” is one of my favorites – but there isn’t much else I can complaint about. The show seemed weighted pretty heavily toward songs from the current album, which was fine with me. See my photos of Earlimart.
Opening act Patrick Park put on a superb show, too. Just him and his acoustic guitar and some very bright lights (until the heat got to him and he asked Schubas to dim things down). I enjoyed Park’s 2004 record Loneliness Knows My Name and I saw him open for someone at the Empty Bottle back then. I just picked up the new Park album, Everyone’s in Everyone, after the show last night. It sounds good so far, though I have to say I think I prefer hearing Park play his songs unvarnished in a live performance to the studio versions – not that the studio versions are super polished or anything, but the pure acoustic versions that he does live are the real thing. A vocal contingent of Park fans requested songs and then applauded loudly at the end of his set. A very rare event then occurred – the opening act performend an encore. He deserved it. See my photos of Patrick Park.