The surprise of the evening was the opening act, a newer band simply called “Churchill.” To tell you the truth, at first, they seemed the most unlikely candidates to win over an indie rock crowd. The four guys and two girls opened their set with “Please come my way, Lord/Please come my way”, in gospelly four-part harmony underlaid only with a bass/snare drumbeat.
Huh? I thought I was at a rock concert, I thought. This looks and sounds like something from my old youth group. But that impression only lasted a moment. From there, they launched into an innovative jazzy sound that still sounded a bit gospelly-bluegrassy, but very, very cool. And things only got better from there.
Based on hearing this one performance, and their freshly-released EP–I’d say Churchill’s strongest asset at the moment is that they have an incredibly solid drum/bass combination. These two instruments form the backbone of pretty much any modern band, and the strength of these pieces (or lack thereof) can make or break a band. That said–this band has one of the strongest backbones of any new band I’ve ever heard, and it gives them a great foundation to build on.
Another thing they have going for them is their songwriting. The tunes are memorable, great melodies, great lyric. I know a song is good when it stays in my head. Their stuff stayed there for days.
Their weak spot–at least that evening–was the vocals. Where the drums/bass were on the mark, the vocals drifted a bit. I say this guardedly because their vocals were much stronger on the EP–so I know they are capable. For whatever reason, it didn’t always translate into their live performance. Whether that’s a consistent issue can’t be determined until I see them play again.
And I would definitely go see them again.
If you’re following this blog (thank you if you are), you probably can already tell that good music excites me. So does real potential. I see in Churchill, not a band who has arrived–but a band that is certainly on their way. They have the raw materials, the oomph, to take them places–the potential to really become something special.
Churchill is a band to watch–and I’m going to look forward to watching how things go for them.
OOMPH scale: 7.5