Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

A Coffeeshop Double-header

May 18, 2007

Lafayette/Jacob Furr
Sugar Brown’s, Lubbock, TX
Friday, May 18, 2007

I bet that there are at least 100,000 guys trying to cut it in the acoustic-folk world – maybe even more. Thus, to stand out in this extremely crowded field, you have to have something to offer that not everyone else does. Be it showmanship, technical prowess, charm or something else, there just has to be something that sets a man and his guitar apart from all the other “man and his guitar” acts.

The interesting thing about Jacob Furr is that I can’t really pinpoint what it exactly is about him that makes him stand out. He has a winning smile and a quick humor that make him easy to like, but there’s just something about his music that is electrifying in a way I can’t explain. Take “Redemption,” for example. A simple, beautiful little fingerpicked song with a slightly syncopated, wide-eyed vocal line above it. Even though that’s a good description of the song, it doesn’t convey the quiet sense of awe that each and every member of the filled coffeehouse watching. They lightly talked through much of the set, but “Redemption” made their voices (and their jaws) drop.

His songwriting is pretty much as I described “Redemption”: simple, beautiful, wide-eyed, a little bit world-weary. His vocals are a perfect compliment to the sound – soft yet insistent, they push songs along when things start to drag, and the melodies are always solid.

His set seemed to fly by, and that was the only disappointing part about his set. Like I said, it’s hard to put to paper what made Jacob Furr so good; his music just drew me in.

Lafayette’s set also seemed to fly by, but in a much different way. After setting up an army of effects pedals and digital equipment, the duo proceeded to churn out upbeat, melodic, occasionally optimistic post-rock epics. There were so many sounds and different parts going on at once that it was best to just take the whole sound in at once – let the entire slab of music just wash over your ears. They never let the set get repetitive, even though they played for a long time – they continually mixed it up by having guitar-based pieces next to keyboards-based pieces next to effects-based pieces. This continuous shifting of emphasis was handled really well, as their sound didn’t suffer in any of the various settings.

Lafayette’s set was so well-received by the coffeehouse patrons that they were asked to keep playing, and they performed an improv set after their original set that I wasn’t able to stay for. I, like the rest of the patrons, was truly thrilled by Lafayette’s music – it was so extremely refined and talented that I don’t think a CD could have sounded any more precise or well-organized. And yet, even though they retained recording-like precision, there was an energy to their sound that completely made seeing them live worth it. They knew what they were doing, and they were having fun with it. As a result, the audience did too.

There’s not much more you can ask for at a coffeeshop show – some excellent folk and some amazing nearly-soundtrack post-rock back-to-back. I highly recommend checking out both bands….you won’t be disappointed.

-Stephen Carradini

Stephen’independentclauses.com

Stephen Carradini and friends write reviews of bands that are trying to make the next step in their careers.

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