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The Brooklyn based folk-rock trio The Lone Bellow came to the Paradise Rock Club in Brighton this past Wednesday. Their stop in Boston is just one on a nearly continuous string of gigs since their self-titled debut albums release in January 2013. They played all the tracks from the album, along with a few new songs and a soulful rendition of John Prine’s “Angel from Montgomery.”
After opener Aoife O’Donovan, a Newton native, warmed up the crowd; the band exploded on stage with “The One You Should’ve Let Go”, and several of their up tempo and infectious folk songs. They then changed gears with “Watch Over Us,” a stripped down, deeply spiritual song written by guitarist Brian Elmquist. It’s haunting harmonies and raw simplicity left the majority of the audience in tears.
Once they rivetingly played through their 14-song set, the band returned to the stage for an incredibly unique encore. Frontman Zach Williams led an impromptu and hilarious performance of “I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)”, “(Everything I Do) I Do It For You”, and the Lion King’s “Circle of Life.” They then urged the entire crowd to dance with each other during the waltz-y tune “Looking For You.”
One thing consistent throughout the entire show was the musicians’ endless supply of energy and focus. Regardless of whether Zach Williams was channeling his inner Elvis in “Georgia Will” or delivering breath taking three part harmonies in “Two Sides of Lonely”, the power that they delivered was astounding.
The band, which has only been together since 2010, will be in the U.S. and Canada until February before heading to Europe to finish their tour. It is clear through the band’s website that they are actively writing new material and will release a second album in the very near future. The core members include Kanene Pipkin, Zach Williams, and Brian Elmquist, who’s Virginia and Georgia roots are definitely made apparent in the southern sounds of their songs. They have been compared to the Avett Brothers, Mumford and Sons, and the Civil Wars. The Lone Bellow served as openers for Civil Wars and Brandi Carlisle, which assisted in their rapid success and recognition.