Camp fire blazes.

Photo: Israel Nebeker, lead singer and co-founder of Blind Pilot last night at the Paradise.

Pulp and Circumstance has a new reviewer, my kitties! Hailing from Massachusetts and currently a sophomore at Tufts University, Sara Harari will bring you her vibrant, fresh perspective on all types of gigs happening in and around the city…no the matter whether she has to get her college ass out of bed the next morning for some class I surely would never have even been allowed in during my schooling days. She’ll juice all that musical pulp for you on those few hours of sleep the youngins can get by on…so welcome her kindly, and you shall think of her fondly.

Sara had the pleasure of taking to her third review last night, when she sat around the figurative campfire thanks to the sounds of Low Anthem and Blind Pilot, to bands that are sure to make even more noise come 2010. Instead of flicking the light, Harari and her fellow gig-goers seem like they should have built up a pile of wood, got to rubbing in harmony with the bands as they went on, and welp, created their own blaze as accompaniment. Alas, it didn’t happen, but here’s what did…

I’m back from another night spent guzzling diet Pepsi and listening to good music instead of studying for a midterm. Last night, the Paradise featured three bands: Mimicking Birds, the Low Anthem, and Blind Pilot. My friend and I arrived just as Mimicking Birds were finishing their set. From what we caught: slow melodies, acoustic instruments, and crooning vocals.

On the last night of their tour with Blind Pilot, the three members of the Low Anthem, Ben, Jeff and Jocie, seamlessly intertwined their voices and their instruments to create a sound reminiscent of campfires. Ok, this might sound a little weird, but really, listening to them reminded me of sitting around a campfire and watching sparks rise into a pitch-black, star-studded sky. Jocie plays an instrument called crotales, which adds a mystical feel to the whole sound.

Some songs had a Bob Dylan feel with acoustic guitar and harmonica. Others had sounds that I’d never thought could go with folk music. In “This God Damn House,” Ben whistles into two cellphones held up to the mike. It gave an eerie, lonely sound. Watch the video on their site.

The group then switched up the acoustic sound with electric guitars and drum. Somehow, they still managed to hold onto the folk rock feel. “Cigarettes, Whiskey and Wild Women” has Ben and Jocie on belting vocals warning about wild women. The crowd stomped and cheered along with the solos and followed the song with thunderous applause.

For their last song, the band brought friends including the members of Blind Pilot onstage to add a new dimension of richness to the vocals and a beautiful trumpet solo. It made for a nice transition into Blind Pilot’s set. It also re-enforced my campfire motif – it was as if they had invited some friends over to see if they wanted to roast marshmallows, and those friends just happened to bring their instruments, Blind Pilot’s set wasn’t as quiet-folk-y as that of New Anthem; instead it was beat driven wonderfulness.

The six-member band (five guys and one girl, man I wish I was her) started by Israel Nebeker and Ryan Dobrowski combined heartfelt lyrics and masterful instrumentals. You could tell that this group loved being onstage. Although they didn’t have long conversations with the audience, the blissful smile on the face of Dave Jorgensen, the trumpet player, said it all. Everyone in the band sang along with the soloist, whether or not they had a mike.

The crowd lapped it up. How could we say no to a vibraphone in a rock band? (vibraphones are Marimba-like instruments) “Go On, Say It” (featured on iTunes as a ‘Single of the Week’ free download in July 2008) had the crowd moving in sync and singing along.

If I was taking a cross-country roadtrip, I would be fine with having their album playing on repeat the whole time; it’s not the kind of music that you get tired of listening to. It’s a little like Fleet Foxes or Josh Ritter, but with a lovely combination of male and female vocals on every song. Their debut album, 3 Rounds and a Song, is at the top of my Christmas list.

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