Concert review: Blind Pilot’s ‘We are the Tide’ tour rolls into St. Louis with style, at Plush, Friday, March 2
Why do I even care what a few strangers from Kentucky think of a St. Louis crowd? Why would it bother me when one of them tells me about the Blind Pilot show they attended earlier in the tour at Headliners in Louisville?
Or why would I care that the Louisville crowd had quieted down so obediently during the encore of “Three Rounds and a Sound” that the only noises besides the unplugged band and Israel Nebeker’s sincere voice was the clink of the bartender as he dropped ice into a glass? I’ll never understand why someone shouts “f&%*ing Frat Boy Shut Up!” while trying to get another person to quiet down, but I do know one sure way to silence a few loud talkers — sing louder.
Which I’m proud to say is exactly what a packed house full of rapt music lovers did at Plush in St. Louis on Friday night. Mr. Louisville, you keep quiet, ’cause this rowdy St. Louis crowd knows how to party, and apparently, how to join in on a sing-along.
Beyond the touching encore, there were many great moments in this KDHX-welcomed show: such as when Dave Jorgensen played trumpet for “I Buried a Bone” or Kati Claborn pulled out the dulcimer, or Israel set up a pump organ for “New York,” the final track on their latest album, “We Are the Tide,” and a perfect example of just how earnest their songwriting can get. The ancient-looking organ breathed with the song, exhaling sounds digital organs only approximate.
I have no song favorite: the eponymous “We Are the Tide” became an instant road-trip repeat on a recent drive to Memphis; “The Colored Night” is an all-day-you-must-hum-if-you-can’t-sing-along kind of song; and their opener “Keep Her Right” gave Israel a crush-worthiness that leant Blind Pilot an appeal much wider than just the beard-and-belly set which can dominate the folk music scene.
If you’ve never heard of Blind Pilot, then I’ll take full credit here and now. Go Spotify them as soon as you can, because they just might be your next favorite band.
Wait. Do something even more odd, actually go to a record store and buy the CD, so this fantastic band of six from Portland can keep filling their straight-up awesome blue vintage ’71 Crown tour bus with gas and keep playing great shows. That’s right: How does a six-piece band lugging a pump organ from venue-to-venue and city-to-city travel? The blue bus is a kitsch mobile of the highest order. I’d be surprised if it doesn’t run on recycled cooking oil and happy thoughts. But of course, you can’t travel to a place where only real feelings happen and everyone plays banjos and dulcimers in a commercial luxury coach bus.
But I digress. I’m fawning over them a little, and clearly, I have a man crush on this band (perhaps not as enamored as my girlfriend when she first saw Israel take the stage), but it’s not like I drove all the way to Louisville to see a band.
Still, you probably get my point: Blind Pilot is worth the trip, because Blind Pilot is a band that’s going places.