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Sunday, 06 May 2012 15:12

Concert review: Pretty Little Empire, Scarlet Tanager and Thankful Tree serve up impeccable three-course audio feast at Off Broadway, Saturday, May 5

Pretty Little Empire Pretty Little Empire Ben Mudd
Written by Joe Duepner

The lone-man outfit Thankful Tree took the Off Broadway stage after 9 p.m. with looping swells of guitar and brash puffs of harmonica to build the sonic backbones.

On top of that sound he plucked away on guitar and laid down soft vocals. People dressed in attire from different time periods and cultures drifted in and out through his songs' melodies.

Scarlet Tanager jumped up on stage shortly thereafter and kicked the show up two gears. For the uninitiated, Scarlet bring a brand of rock that inspire you to lift your wine glass in the air to good and missed fortunes while a dress or suit of white. The crowd shouted the refrains back at the band after the songs had finished. It would be hard to imagine a better stage warmer. Scarlet brought the intense energy but piped it through a completely different filter than the headliner.

Pretty Little Empire opened with the crisply-new "Out of Control." The soft opening of the song gives way to torrents of guitar. There was no looking back from there. Joined by the masterful David Beeman, Pretty Little Empire proceeded to kill it. Then resurrect it. Then kill it again.

The usual St. Louis show protocol is to vacate the premises immediately following the last song. Despite this -- and despite the fact that much of the crowd had earlier attended either Kentucky Derby or Cinco de Mayo festivities -- people hung around until close basking in the glow of a stellar show. Outside on the yellow-lit veranda, beer cans were clinked and dropped well into Seis de Mayo.

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