Friday July 8, 2005

Eisley at The Gypsy Ballroom, Dallas, TX.

I just love live music. Factoring in both the responsibilities of maintaining a career and the narrowing scope of live bands I care to hear, it has been a while since I’ve gone to a show. There’s a certain pervasive excitement in the experience surrounding live music; the standing in line with other fans, the watching and waiting during soundchecks, and — yes — even the pushing and pulling of a sea of people.

So it was with some excitement that I happened upon a concert listing for Eisley, the talented little band from Tyler, Texas. Jessica was the first person to introduce me to the band, and I’ve been a fan ever since. The mix of pop, folk, rock, country, and sci-fi/fantasy lyrics have earned the musical family a well-deserved following.

This was the first time we’d been to Deep Ellum which, as far as I can tell, is the place for music in Dallas. The Gypsy Tea Room and Ballroom greeted us with an unexpectedly long, snaking line of patrons waiting for the doors to open.

We got in soon enough and found a spot near the stage and a wall so that my exceeding height would not become a nuisance to the unfortunate soul who might find themselves standing behind me. I know, I’m such a gentleman. The evening began with Pilotdrift, a band that sounded a lot like the meandering lovechild of Grandaddy and Radiohead playing pirate songs on a Led Zeppelin tribute album. Yeah, I know. Talk about variety. They were actually quite good; I pretty much always enjoy the creative use of synthesisers, Moogs, and wacky audio filters. It didn’t hurt that there was a prominently-displayed Powerbook onstage. I’m interested to hear what their album sounds like because their live set seemed to really shift gears at the drop of a hat. Sometimes it seemed like 2 or 3 songs were getting smooshed together.

Lovedrug took the stage next, and the first though I had was, “Man, how bad do these guys want to be Coldplay?” Too bad they didn’t have the chops. The vocalist had a positively nauseating voice and was clearly more interested in seeing how many long, drawn-out Thom York-ish whining sessions he could fit into each song instead of attempting to enunciate a single word. More nails got hammered into their musical coffin by the lead guitarist’s histrionics and posturing. Remember Spider from School of Rock? Pretty much the same guy, minus the chestless leather shirt.

After Lovedrug’s positively coma-inducing set of nondescript whine-alongs, we finally got the goods we all paid to hear. Eisley played a tight set and delivered those trademark harmonies at every turn. As it turns out, this was the last show of their tour so there was a good amount of stage banter. At one point, one of the girls mentioned that Hilary Duff had invited them to open for her upcoming tour. Ha. They declined. There was a fair amount of new material played as well as old favorites like Treetops and I Wasn’t Prepared. I’ve seen pictures and such, but I was still a bit surprised at how young the band really is. Their music just reflects more maturity than youth. Maybe they’re just old souls.

Rough non-sequential setlist as follows:

  • Memories
  • Mr. Pine
  • Telescope Eyes
  • Golly Sandra
  • Marvelous Things
  • I Wasn’t Prepared
  • Vintage People
  • Just Like We Do
  • Trolleywood
  • Plenty of Paper
  • Lost at Sea

Encore:

  • Blackened Crown
  • Head Against the Sky

It was a great time, and reminded us of why we love concerts so much. With the lingering sounds of the music still ringing in our ears, we hit the highway for home, promising ourselves that we’d give ourselves more chances to forget our silly problems for just a few hours of musical bliss.

Commentary


Zeerus » 4371 days ago #

some cool music there, though it’s not my favorite genre. You’re lucky you even get to go to concerts. There are virtually none around here. Every one requires at least an hour drive.

Andrew Kaufmann » 4371 days ago #

Deep Ellum is the place for live music in Dallas, for sure—not counting of course the big venues like Nokia Live, Smirnoff Center, and American Airlines Center. Right now, Gypsy Tea Room gets the best acts—it used to be Trees. Trees, Club Clearview, among others still get some good acts, but Gypsy is where it’s at right now.

Lower Greenville (not far from Deep Ellum) has some live music, but it’s not the haven for it that Deep Ellum is. Exposition Park is growing fast, though—it’s just outside of Deep Ellum. The DoubleWide gets some good acts.

The Z Man » 4370 days ago #

The blogger failed to mention about the audience. Here goes. Most of the audience present there were at the edge of 17+....there was a girl like 11+ too…but accompanied with her mom. In sync with Eisley’s music, the audience were high-schoolish, not so maturely inclined towards heavy rock (juzz like me). I happen to overhear couple of kids..they were like ‘i got ipod..& its totally coool..i just love my ipod’...i thot “kids!! grow up!!..talk about linux & bluetooth..thats some cool stuff”.
Deep Ellum is a good place to hangout & have music. Positive thing being..theres tons of parking space. If you can walk couple of blocks, you can save 3$ (2$ normal fare..5$ for special hapenings)..hehe..

Brian » 4370 days ago #

#3, kids who talk about Linux and Bluetooth in high school get beat up and die alone. I should know. :’(

But about Eisley… I love them. I really do. But when I saw ‘em in Chicago a few months back, they wouldn’t shut up about how great MySpace.com is and how we should all sign up for it and do their contest. They were clearly being paid, as they really didn’t seem to have a clue what it was all about. I know it’s hard to make good music and good money at the same time, and I’d prolly do the exact same thing given the opportunity, but seeing such a fantastically talented bunch of kids turned into whores for MySpace (perhaps the single most annoying Friendster clone ever) really turned me off, and it took a few spins of the CD to get me over it.

I saw them open for the very unfortunate New Found Glory. If they tour with Hillary Duff, I will hang myself in the name of the greedy greedy music industry.

Kate » 4342 days ago #

I was at that concert too! Eisley is one of my favorite bands, and the fact that they’re from Texas rocks. The two bands that opened for them were pretty rockin’ too.

I really like the layout and design of your site and I am interested in the company that you work for.

Keep up the good work. Cheers.

Caley » 4223 days ago #

I didn’t attend that concert, but the next one at the Gypsy Tea Room where Eisley was apart of Swichfoot’s “Nothing is Sound” tour. Man, it was sweet! That’s actually where I fell in love with Eisley’s sound. Yeah, before then I listened to a few of their songs off of their official site, but I was like “they’re cool” and I held on to my Oasis and Stereophonics CDs for dear life. But once I saw them live, I was just stunned into silence, literally. I was seriously engulfed in the melodic and harmonic beauty and the amazing lyrical adventures that their songs take you on. It’s crazy-amazing!

Now, they’ve become my favorite band (it’s not Travis or Longview any longer) and I can’t wait for their sophomore album to come out next year! Plus, I can’t wait to see what Stacy, Sherri, and hopefully Chauntelle write because they are very brilliant with songwriting. Mad talented. Also, I would love to hear Chauntelle sing again with a mic in front of her!

Haha, Hilary Duff asked Eisley to open up for HER? The band that opened for Coldplay as their first major tour and are immensely more talented both in originality and singing wise, open for HER? I’m jovial that they turned that one down. Call me harsh and insensitive, but please—Hilary Duff?

I’m actually going to see Eisley again during the next Buzz Oven event; just thirteen days away exactly. I can’t wait—Eisley twice in two months!

« Older writing is available in the Archives.