Eisley – The Loft, Atlanta Ga.

Eisley is a band that has an ethereal quality that makes me picture a group of fairies and princesses singing their airy, melodic songs. Of course, some of this may have something to do with the fact that I discovered them and Francesca Lia Block about the same time, at the heeding of the same person, who was just as fairy-like as the music and literature. Of course, I knew that the fairies making this music were real people. That didn’t save me from genuinely wanting to see these songs presented in a way that would make Rick Wakeman jealous (don’t know who he is? Look it up.), complete with lights, costume, and special effects.

Of course, Eisley opted for a more stripped down, no frills performance, with minimal lighting tricks and just a simple banner behind them. This was certainly better suited to the venue.

Even in the stripped down setting the music maintained the otherworldly quality. Sore throats and all, the harmonies were as haunting as ever, which for lack of a better comparison are similar to Enya, but intelligible. In addition to avoiding a big show, they also avoided the stage banter, playing 90 minutes with minimal speaking.

There were some problems in terms of sound, but that had more to do with the sound guy at The Loft and my proximity to the speaker than with the band’s performance. My only other complaint was that they did not play two of my favorite songs, “Brightly Wound” and “Trolly Wood,” though they did manage to play all of Combinations and most of Room Noises.

The crowd was an interesting one. There were lots of guys who were clearly dragged there by girlfriends, though it was still a very female crowd. There were a fair number of moms and dads dragged along by daughters. Most noticeable, to me since they were right next to me, was a quintessential frat boy with a faux hawk making MySpace pictures with his girlfriend.

When Eisley hit the stage, the crowd was very sedate. There was very little singing along, rocking, or even head bobbing. Not even much clapping between songs. This was very odd for me, since this is the opposite of my typical shows.

Despite traffic, closed roads, and a problem with my ticket at will-call, I managed to get into the show in time for the opening acts, The Envy Corps and The Myriad. The Envy Corps’ singer has a vocal style similar to the ladies of Eisley. I had a hard time deciding what The Myriad sounded like. I know that I couldn’t help but think prog-rock when they started talking about their video that consisted of them cavorting about with mythical creatures. Their look was very OK GO. As for sound, AllMusic.com (which I can’t live without) compares them to The Bravery, Keane, and Snow Patrol.

Despite being a classic rock move, it seemed somehow out of place, when Eisley tried to pull of an encore. Sensing the awkwardness, they passed it off with, “Thanks for playing along with our cheesy encore.” Following “A Sight to Behold,” with an intro that is as close as Eisley gets to a rock anthem to go out on, they ended with the sweet, melodic “If You’re Wondering.”

Here’s a set list, for you diehards:

Set List: Go Away, Many Funerals, Lady of the Wood, Marvelous Things, Come Clean, Taking Control, Unholy Afters, gum drops snowflakes, Invasion, Something, Golly Sandra, I Wasn’t Prepared, Combinations, One Day I Slowly Floated Away, Ten Cent Blues, I Could Be There for You, A Sight to Behold, If You’re Wondering

Remaining Tour Dates:
4/16 Orlando, FL/The Social
4/17 Fort Lauderdale, FL/Culture Room
4/18 St. Petersburg, FL/State Theatre
4/20 Carrboro, NC/Cat’s Cradle
4/23 New York, NY/Highline Ballroom
4/25 Philadelphia, PA/First Unitarian Church – Sanctuary
4/27 Boston, MA/Paradise Rock Club
4/28 Montreal, Quebec/Club Lambi
4/29 Toronto, Ontario/Lee’s Palace
5/01 Detroit, MI/The Shelter
5/02 Chicago, IL/Park West
5/03 Milwaukee, WI/The Rave Bar
5/04 Minneapolis, MN/Fine Line Music Cafe
5/05 Des Moines, IA/Peoples Court
5/07 Boulder, CO/Fox Theatre & Cafe
5/08 Salt Lake City, UT/Avalon Theater
5/09 Boise, ID/Big Easy Concert House
5/10 Portland, OR/Wonder Ballroom
5/13 Sacramento, CA/The Empire
5/14 San Francisco, CA/Great American Music Hall
5/15 Los Angeles, CA/El Rey Theatre
5/16 San Diego, CA/House of Blues
5/22 Dallas, TX/House of Blues
5/23 San Antonio, TX/Scout Bar
5/24 McAllen, TX/Cine El Rey Theatre

Eisley: website | myspace | interview with Sherri DuPree


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