I arrived at Club Passim for Lindsay Lou & The Flatbellys, yet another show at which I had no idea what to expect - other than great music. This Americana old-timey bluegrass band delivered a fantastic show that truly highlighted the extent of their talents.
Lindsay Lou, primary vocalist and songwriter, on guitar, and clawhammer banjo; Joshua Rilko on mandolin, vocals, bass, and banjo; PJ George on upright bass, vocals, guitar, and mandolin; and Mark 'Huggy Bear' Lavengood on resonator guitar (dobro), vocals, guitar, bass, and beat box comprise the band.
I am always intrigued when I see a 'Grand Ole Opry' type of microphone on the stage since that generally means we will hear some incredible harmonies. This was certainly true at this show. Lindsay Lou is the lead singer for most of the songs, but the others each got at least one chance to sing lead on a song he wrote. She has a fabulous, strong voice, with a wide vocal range. This stood out in songs like 'Hot Hands' and 'Criminal Style', both from their recent release, Ionia.
It was fascinating to watch them (and listen to them) trading instruments; the only instrument played by only one person was the dobro (which was strictly Mark's turf), but they all appeared and sounded extremely comfortable on all the instruments they played. They moved as easily as they could on Passim's small stage, passing the instruments back and forth or switching places when that made more sense. That 'choreography' added to the show, at least for this writer; it emphasized the comfort they feel with both the music and their bandmates.
Lindsay Lou explained that Mark got his nickname because he gives great hugs. I arrived at the club just after doors opened as Mark was tuning the bass; after he finished, he came over to me, introduced himself, and gave me a big hug. I agree with Lindsay Lou! If - or when - you see them, make sure you get a hug.
"I'll never write another song as long as I am sane" is a line from 'Here Between' and it resonated with me. I may not write songs, but I have a number of creative outlets and I have always felt that the most creative people are at least slightly off-center. If my perception is accurate, Lindsay Lou better not be sane because I want to hear a lot more from her (and the band) in years to come!
For photos of this show, see my post on Suze Reviews the Blues.