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LIVE REVIEW: Olin & The Moon May Be From Idaho But They Conquered Utah Last Wednesday Night in San Francisco...

Olin & The Moon at the Hotel by Robert Celli
This past Wednesday night I had the opportunity to see the pride of Sun Valley, Idaho Olin & The Moon live at the Hotel Utah in San Francisco. In an earlier post on this blog I sung the band's praises for their latest recording Footsteps. But the real proof for me has always been what can a band can do free of the studio and placed on a stage. I was not the least bit disappointed, in fact I was blown away by the poise and maturity of a band that clearly has been earning it on the road, one town at a time. Lead singer and songwriter David LaBrel had a natural charisma and confidence that swept through the small but tightly packed club. This is a band that is comfortable playing to whatever room "the road" throws their way. I could imagine their sound being just as dialed in an arena as in a 50 seat cafe. Their songs already seem designed to fill the space between your headphones, or a bedroom late at night, but what about a club?
David LaBrel w/ by Robert Celli
At "the Utah" they played a diverse set of songs that had the girls gently rocking back and forth, while providing enough muscle for the men to grip their Buds and confidently nod their heads. "Terrible Town" - a single off an earlier album of the same name - was a great driving rock tune. The song featured some perfectly orchestrated builds and nice accents, highlighting drummer Marshall Vore's and bassist Kyle Vicioso's understated rhythmic punch. In fact, that "understated" quality is at the core of the band's live sound . Olin & The Moon strike the perfect balance of delivering well-defined parts that are not stiffly executed. There is an "in-the-moment" aspect to this band and the way the songs are approached in the live setting. It could be easy to fall back on road-tested chops but they genuinely seem to be connecting with the songs, crowd and each other, in a way that is natural and organic to THAT performance. Lead guitarist Travis LaBrel plays leads that resonate but are never over-played, reminding me of another restrained but tasty guitar player, Lucero's Brian Venable. He also hits some sweet harmonies with his brother-the kind only brothers can hit - as was evidenced in the song "Jackson".
Brothers by Robert Celli
Another set highlight  for me was "Out of Here" featuring accordion and vocals that were at once strong and aching by David LaBrel. LaBrel has a natural and unaffected instrument that connects well with audiences. "Waking Up" was a fine example of why pedal steel is such a wondrous instrument. Pedal steel player Brian McGinnis has a precocious command over an instrument that it takes many years to master. The hourlong set reminded me of two of my favorite live bands Lucero and Soul Asylum. Like those bands, Olin & The Moon take you on a musical journey that goes by too fast and leaves you wanting a few songs more. Now, I see plenty of bands and this is not the norm. Most times I wish a few minutes would be shaved off of sets but definitely not in this case. When the closer and EPIC "15 Burro Blanco" came to its crashing crescendo, I was patiently waiting for the next tune when I noticed the band was packing up. That is a good sign...believe me for a guy who sees close to 200 shows a year, a very good sign. The band left for gigs in Fresno and Santa Cruz before eventually heading out to Austin, TX for SXSW. Video below of their set closer taken with my trusty FlipCam UNEDITED and extremely LIVE, enjoy.
Up next by Robert Celli

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