Show Review: Givers with Kopecky Family Band at Rickshaw Stop, 9/8/2011

by Dakin Hardwick on September 10, 2011

 

SPOILER: This is how the show ended

Givers. There is something about this band that piqued my interest before hearing a single note. It may be the publicity photo that I keep seeing, with the incredibly pretty girl in it. It may be the fact that there is absolutely nothing bad on their label, Glassnote Records. Or it could just be my sixth sense about bands. Anyways, I uncovered by copy of their debut full length record that was sent to me from the label. I started listening, and maybe a week later, I realized that it’s all I wanted to listen to. Then, I noticed that they were playing. So, as expected, I decided to seize the moment and go see this band.

The Kopecky Family band opened the show. I went into their set completely void of expectations. It’s a pleasant feeling not knowing what to expect. It’s especially pleasant when what you end up with is something as great as this band. The first thing that I noticed was the bass. I locked into the bass players sound- a heavy, melodic groove. There was a nice blend of funk, punk, and rockabilly brewing with a hint of traditional indie rock . The band had two singers, Gabe and Kelsey Kopecky. (Yes, the Kopecky Family Band are an actual family) When the vocals kicked in, I actually lost track of the bass player that blew my mind in the beginning, because these are two stunning singers. As the set went on, things became more and more varied. This was one solid, impressive band. Each family member kept alternating instruments- we had the basics- keyboard, bass, guitar, drums. We also had the occasional trombone solo, plenty of xylophone, and percussion galore.

The crowd, which was definitely there to see Givers, was slow to get into the band, but by the end of the set, people were definitely dancing, and by the end of the set, the majority of the capacity crowd was entirely in sync with the band. They did exactly what a good opening acts does- warms up the crowd, makes new fans, and sets the bar very high for the headliner.

Setlist:

Howling at the Moon
Birds
My
Animal
Red Devil
Disaster
Lucky
God & Me
Angry

Givers warmed up with the slow building dance-punk-afrobeat-zydeco (yes, you read that right) of “In My Eyes.” The song started out rather delicate, but progressed into an intense and sweaty affair. Co-vocalists Tiffany Lamson and Taylor Guarisco’s voices work together in a wonderful way. Lamson’s soulful rasp blends with Guarisco’s David Bryne meets Ezra Koenig in a way that shouldn’t work, but it does. I have also never seen an acoustic guitar and a ukelele played with such great intensity.

The next stretch of songs continued with the band’s trademark sound of punky, danceable music with just enough world beat to make you want to share them with your english teacher. It’s rare for a band to feel this cohesive so early in their career, and it really makes sense that they are already headlining gigs, including this sold out show at Rickshaw Stop, so quickly. It was a bright and energetic affair, and the crowd never stopped moving.

The only time the energy level seemed to slow was during the epic 7 minute ballad “Go Out At Night.” The delicate song was played with such a tender, emotional honesty that Lamson was visibly trying to hold back tears while performing. She did, however leave the stage for a few moments after the song was over, and in the dark back corner you could see her with Kopecky Family Band’s Kelsey Kopecky hugging her and helping her clean her face. I’ve been to a lot of shows, but I’ve rarely seen somebody put so much of themselves into a performance that they needed to release tears. This was, by far, one of the most moving performances of any song I have ever seen performed live. In fact, this is second only to seeing Beck in Golden Gate Park in 2000 have to stop playing “Nobody’s Fault But My Own” because it got him so choked up.

Of course, this was a still a crowd that wanted to move, and in order to crank the energy back, they pulled out the big guns. And by the big guns, I mean they pulled out an idea that could’ve gone very, very wrong in a different bands hands. They played a medley of Talking Heads songs, amp’d up, and seemed to largely surprise the very young crowd. They opened up with “Girlfriend Is Better” and segued it straight into a partial cover of “This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody)”. A lot of bands cover this band, and often fail. This was by far and away the opposite of that.

The band finished the main set with “Words.” Of course the band played an encore. The started with a version of the single “Up Up Up,” that was faster and spunkier than the version of the album. Then, the closed with “Wanna Want It.” A pure, raw, aggressive punk song that had the band firing on all pistons. Lamson, for the first time all night, stepped away from her drums, put away her uke, and simply wailed on the mic. Keyboardist Nick Stephan grabbed a saxophone, and the band was now in full throttle Iggy & The Stooges mode. The sweaty crowd was practically in mosh pit mode, and it almost felt like the venue was going to explode. The bass player Josh LeBlanc was moving so frantically that I thought he was going to poke someones eye out, maybe even his own. By the end of the song there were so many bodies flailing about that when the drums started falling over, I couldn’t tell if the drum kicked them over, or the heat of the room made them burst like microwave popcorn.

Setlist:

In My Eyes
Meantime
Ripe
Saw You First
Atlantic
Go Out At Nights
Ceiling Of Plankton
Girlfriend was Better>This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody)
Words

Up Up Up
Wanna Want It

Photos by Marie Carney

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