North Carolina-based band Bowerbirds is in town to play a sold-out show at Lincoln Hall tonight for the Tomorrow Never Knows festival, but they took some time out of their schedule to stop by Reckless Records in Lakeview for a free show. While I’m only somewhat familiar with their music, I decided to go check them out and was definitely pleased. (And I’m sure Reckless was pleased, too, as their store was packed with people who kept buying things as they waited for the set to start.)
They played a short set of songs from both of their albums, opening with “The Ticonderoga” and closing with “Chimes”. While I’ve seen their style described as freak folk, I’m not really sure where that label comes from, as their music was closer to folk rock than anything else. (Maybe I just have a misunderstanding of what comprises the freak folk genre. Or maybe that genre is becoming just as much of a catch-all as “indie” is.) Their playing was very tight, and vocals and instrumentals sounded fabulous, even in a record store which was very clearly not designed for hosting musical acts. Phil Moore’s vocals were great, and the four part harmonies that crept in every so often were gorgeous. Beth Tacular’s voice got lost a bit in the room, but from what I did hear, she has a very pretty, delicate voice — perfect for the type of music the band plays. The show was a great opportunity to see an up-and-coming band in an intimate setting with a handful of other fans. Hopefully, they’ll swing by Chicago again sometime when I’ll be able to see a full set, in a venue that does their sound justice.