We’ll admit it: The Oh Hellos is one of our favorite discoveries to come out of the Newport Folk Fest (’14, if you recall). A large, overwhelming nontet with two drummers, the brother/sister duo of Maggie and Tyler Heath seem to come naturally into singable, joyous melody, and at Providence last week…
Well, we’ll get to that. But first things first. (Photos (C) Bera Dunau)
|A Cereus Bright in the dark night. (L to R) Tyler Anthony and Evan Ford.|
Cereus Bright caught us off-guard. Lovely harmonies, the quintet puts out. Their sound was beautifully balanced, and their drummer – sigh – their drummer! Don’t tell Luke Bowers this, but we want to marry his beats, each and every of the subtle and dense hits he taps on the ‘set. We chatted up Ford and fellow Matt, Matt Nelson (bass) before the show, picking both their brains about touring and bathing, and in addition to being good folk, Cereus Bright’s performance that night definitely got us hummin’ along. All the way through the set, to their last one, the eponymous “Cereus Bright,” which was a stunning, gorgeous ballad that channeled… perhaps Fleet Foxes a bit? We picked up their two EPs, and while we definitely recommend their live work to their studio, a little birdie told us a full-length is on the way Spring ’16. Which we are certain to cover.
If y’all is curious, check out their site for a free download. Again, unbelievable balance and talent, which we’re hoping gets the full treatment next year. Congrats, gents.
We haven’t a whole lot to say about the first opener, Friends and Family – Cereus was number 2 on the bill – other than F+F’s vocals were washed out by the rest of the sound. But they were clearly inspired by Typhoon, playing even a cover (“Common Sentiments”) and being friends with the Portland, OR band. So it’s difficult to say! Hence, the not saying a lot (sorry guys and lady!)
And the Oh Hellos themselves…
We can sum them up this way:
“I think I’m in love with her.”
“She’s cute,” us.
|The voice to sink a thousand hearts. (L to R) Josh Heinlein (?) Maggie, Tyler|
Miss Maggie’s voice has a gentle country lilt to it, the kind of lilt that seems to reminisce a bit of Ireland; gentle, confident, capable. Tyler’s voice doesn’t have that kind of lilt to it, but together, with his calm gentleness, the harmonies the Oh Hellos produce are fresh, uplifting, even when their songs grasp about in the darkness, subject-wise. Add to that two percussionists, an accordion, and a couple of crazy banjoists (who were dancing so hard we could only get blurry photos like this:
|Like The Flash – just impossible to catch.|
Bad? Yes, we know.) and you suddenly have a stage presence that is unlikely to be met by the majority of national bands on our radar – those Rolling Stones darlings included. The Oh Hellos were – and certainly are – an act to catch live. And if you can’t, be sure to hop on over to their site, as their songwriting is as beautiful and melodic as this guy above is crazy.
That was weak, we know. We’re still recovering from the intense awesomeness that was the past week. But still, thank y’all for stopping by, but do come back, cause even though our weekend started early, Dave Rawlings came out one of these nights…
|We had to fit in another photo. Had to.|