In their show at the Paradise Rock Club on Wednesday as The Lone Bellow improvised various tunes from the 1990s, front man Zach Williams joked that there was a point when they considered becoming a wedding band. That would have been a real loss because it probably would have meant that they would never have recorded any their incredible self-titled debut album, and we certainly wouldn’t have heard the new songs that have been popping up on the road since. (See a new video for one of them, “I Let You Go,” on the Ralph Lauren web site.) On the other hand, had they gone that route, some people would have had the most amazing wedding band ever!
I’ve had the pleasure of seeing them live a few times, and it seems there’s a good chance they’ll start improvising their way through pop tunes of a particular era at some point in the show. It usually starts in comments Zach is making about something, and very likely will involve a sing along at some point. It’s unrehearsed, fun and all in good humor, and it’s totally brilliant! Kanene Pipkin blew me away with her impromptu singing of “Circle of of Life” from the Lion King! Then, toward the end of the show, Zach had the venue dim the lights as he encouraged the audience to find a partner and dance. When the house turned the lights back up on the stage during the song, Zach admonished them to turn them down again. He was creating a mood and the stage was not meant to be the center of attention. The Wednesday night show affirmed the opinion formed after I saw them play in Ann Arbor in June. They have a way of making you feel like the show is as much about the you in the audience as it is the band on stage. That, to my mind, is what makes for a really great show.
Opening for the Lone Bellow as Aofie O’Donovan, for whom the show was something of a homecoming. She hails from Newton, MA, and recounted attending a high school dance that was held at the venue! She was performed with a bassist and another guitarist in a trio, showcasing songs from her new album, Fossils. I’d not heard her songs before, and I was thrilled I got there in time to do so. I liked her sound, I liked her band, and I liked her songs!
I hope you like the photos from the evening, taken by myself and Rachid Aadnani. See more of his work at tizi.org.