There’s nothing like a local Charleston band to warm a person up for a headlining show. HoneySmoke, who included a kazoo solo in one of their songs, was a nice country/rock-influenced-blues band to serve as an appetizer for what was to come. They were followed by Hugh Masterson who could be described as the acoustic, “countrier” cousin of the Lone Bellow. For each of his last three songs, a member of the Lone Bellow came on stage to join Masterson and his lone acoustic guitar, providing a teasing taste of the performance around the corner.
With Masterson’s hauntingly personal vocals and lyrics still ringing through my head, I waited over half an hour for the much anticipated headliner to grace the stage. But the delay was worth it.
The Lone Bellow’s sophomore album, Then Came the Morning, is center stage on this tour, considering it came out in January. They opened with a new song—admitting they hadn’t rehearsed the newest version of it yet—and scattered their set with the better known songs off of their self-titled debut album, like “You Never Need Nobody.”
This trio is a musical powerhouse. It was difficult not to be impressed by the rack full of eight guitars waiting on the stage to be used in different songs, or the obvious chemistry they share. Not only that, but the Charleston vibe was feeding their energy, and in one of his many interactions with the crowd, front-man Zach Williams said, “This is special, man. This is special.”
The Lone Bellow’s capacity for musical composition was complemented greatly by the absolute power in songs like “Marrietta” and their deeply personal rendition of “Watch Over Us.” With the tragedy in Charleston earlier this summer, Brian Elmquist seemed to be singing directly to the CHS community in the latter.
The Brooklyn-based indie-folk group closed out their set with the album’s namesake, “Then Came the Morning.” It was a memorable choice, sticking with me even through the encore where HoneySmoke, Hugh Masterson, and the LoneBellow preformed a song of Masterson’s together. They seemed to be genuinely enjoying themselves, and were simply fun to watch for an evening. Given the chance, I would one hundred percent see the Lone Bellow again, and look forward to when I can.
Stephanie Selker, Photos by Holden Curran
You can also catch Holden with his show “Locale,” Thursdays at 6PM only on CisternYard Radio. Make sure to follow him on Instagram (@westcoastcaufield).