Saddle Creek | Now It's Overhead | Reviews


Fall Back Open

Author: Brian Fogarty
03/13/2004 | | | Live Show Preview
Entering the trusty small Go venue, I became privy to the opening act The Title Ceremony. The instrumental foursome from Wilmington busted through an amazing set that comes close to rivaling the best in instrumental music - e.g., Explosions in the Sky. I was expecting little to nothing from these guys, especially since they were a last minute addition to the bill after playing with Stats and Now It's Overhead in Wilmington the night before. In addition, I often want to slit my wrists to instrumental live music, but the Title Ceremony dazzled. Though seemingly a young group these guys have enormous potential - certainly check them out if possible.

Emerging during the Title Ceremony's set was the tall and lanky Denver Dalley with a host of equipment. Dalley was joined tonight by the drummer of NIO, Clay Leverett, on bass because their bass player had to head home. The Stats had a nice little array of electronics underlying the three-piece - consistent with the sounds on the latest record Leave Your Name. As I found with the Stats show during the summer, Dalley is a quiet and unassuming frontman with great guitar skills. Yet, there is a disconnect in vocals between the recorded material and live performance. Specifically, Dalley seems to be constrained and not ready to release the full onslaught of vocal intensity. This observation may be enhanced by Dalley's quiet and higher-pitched singing. When he is able to translate the recorded experience live then it will be phenomenal. With that said, the band powered through their all-star tracks from Leave Your Name including "Hours Seemed Like Days," "Sing A Song" and "The Grass Is Always Greener." Given that Desperarecidos are taking a longer than expected sabbatical with Conor Oberst adventures in Bright Eyes, Dalley will have more time on his hands to perfect his craft.

Headlining tonight's show was Now It's Overhead from Athens, GA. Similar to the Statistics being Denver Dalley's brainchild, NIO is to varying degrees Andy LeMaster's baby. Sweetly, NIO had recorded backup vocals of Orenda Fink and Maria Taylor of Azure Ray so the tracks were as close to the recordings as possible - though it would be awesome to see Fink and Taylor do them live. Having never seen NIO before, I was immediately struck by now small and fragile LeMaster appeared and yet he was a stunning frontman. It is quite possible that NIO sounded better live than the recorded songs from their masterpiece Fall Back Open. With the band holding the fort and adding the marginal amount of electronic add-ons, etc., LeMaster crooned and powered his guitar through the relatively short set - a fact which annoyed a number of individuals. Though familiar with the material off the first album, it seemed that NIO stuck with material from the new album and made quite an impression on the moderate size audience. I'm really compelled to see NIO again where they can give a full-blown hour long performance. If people knew who good these guys are - and SXSW will certainly help - they would be huge. I think it is more than likely that they could get picked up as openers on a major tour and total blow the doors off - and you thought Saddle Creek couldn't get even more popular.
Fall Back Open

Fall Back Open

CD / MP3